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Gavin Grades The Movies

Total Recall

When I was 10-years-old, I went over to my friend Josh Swayer's house.  This was when I lived in a fairly blue-collar part of Philadelphia, so most of the adults in the area were a little hazy on what was appropriate for kids and what wasn't.  Anyway, Total Recall with Arnold Swartzenegger had just come out on tape and Josh's dad got a copy and allowed us to watch it with him.  It was too violent and his method for censoring the famous tri-boobed girl was to shout, "LOOK AWAY" after it had been on the screen for a second...and seered into my memory forever.  The original was campy, stupid, fun and a complete disservice to the book by Philip Dick.  This new version is none of the above.

Colin Farrell is one of those actors that has won me over as a fan.  He joins the ranks of Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Leonardo DiCaprio; guys who started off with tawdry roles as beefcake just to put female asses in seats but have since chosen challenging roles in aggressive, gritty films where they excell masterfully.  Unfortunately Total Recall is not one of Farrell's best.  He puts forth littler effort into making us perk up.  The same goes for his co-star, Jessica Biel.  However, his other steamy co-star, Kate Beckinsale, is excellent.  This is one of her best roles and she seems like she really enjoys playing a ruthless baddie.

Sadly there are two other notables appearing in the film that are horrendously under used.  Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcom in the Middle) and Bill Nighy (Shaun of the Dead, Pirates of the Carribbean 2) are in this as well but they might as well not be.  Such a shame since they are both fantastic actors and have always dazzled in everything they've done.  Cranston is the villain and Nighy is the leader of the revolution.  You'd think both could be key characters but no.  Such a waste.

Make no mistake that the SFX are spectular.  Easily, 85% of the film was created in a computer and that's okay by me at this point.  There are some sequences that are incredible such as a flying car chase (yet another Hollywood movie promising us flying cars) and a suspense-filled scene through sideways elevator shafts.  Aside from the occational fun, there's not much substance to the film even though it follows the book a lot closer than the 1990 version.  The ending is the best part even though it also is a missed oppurtunity.  Total Recall is entertaining for the seconds that tick by while you watch it but the titular irony sets in when you realize it's completely forgettable.
Total Recall  (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: C+

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Topics : Entertainment_Culture
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Locations : Philadelphia
People : Arnold SwartzeneggerBill NighyBrad PittBryan CranstonColin FarrellGavin GradeJessica BielJosh SwayerKate BeckinsaleLeonardo DiCaprioPhilip DickRyan Gosling


08/05/2012 8:47PM
Total Recall
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