Review of Total Recall (2012)

This review originally appeared on Amazon. See more reviews by Dan.

Why are there remakes?

Sometimes I wonder why a film gets remade only to make it worse. The original Total Recall was a good film. Not a masterpiece by any stretch, but a clever, funny, action-packed (and only slightly campy) romp through space and the human mind. Not so this remake – if you can see past the overused lens flares, here’s what you’ll learn about our future:

  • Cars, elevators, emergency exits, surgical equipment, and life in general will become less safe, not more, as we invent increasingly smart automated systems.
  • All common sense will be lost along the wayside: when faced with the opportunity to kill their enemy, both good guys and bad guys alike will prefer to give them another chance to fight back. Again. And again.
  • Even though a nation is capable of building robots capable of working tirelessly and surviving in the inhospitable parts of the planet, they’re far more-likely to use those robots to kill other humans working for them in the hospitable parts of the planet.
  • At some point in time, people will stop caring how practical their mobile phones are, and instead start using ones that require that you find a nearby window before you can use the screen (which can then be seen by all the strangers near you).
  • Gravity turns out not to work like we think it does. Who knew!

If you can forgive the silly plot and unbelievable characters, the acting isn’t intolerable and the story’s “fun enough” that it’ll distract you for a while. Don’t expect miracles, though: this film should have gone straight to DVD.



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