Here are some facts. The first Total Recall starring Arnold Schwarzenegger was released in 1990 and earned more than $261-million worldwide. After Blade Runner and Screamers, it’s the third movie based on a Philip K. Dick story (Matrix, Minority Report, Adjustment Bureau, Next), and it presently holds a solid 85% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. To top it off, it won an Academy Award for special effects. So, why did we need another one?
Colin Ferrell stars as Douglas Quaid, a blue-collar manual laborer working in a robotics factory. Bored out of his mind while he’s awake, he can hardly manage to sleep because of a recurring nightmare that involves him being taken prisoner by military forces. Looking to find release, Quaid gives in to temptation and visits Rekall, a notorious imagination bar where customers can take head trips if they ignore the rumors about brains damaged beyond repair.
When police forces storm in just as Quaid is about to dive into a spy fantasy, the story takes off on one long cat and mouse chase broken into sections which involve Quaid being caught, finding an escape route, then being chased only to be caught again. It’s an action movie with guns, guns, and more guns, and being quite long, it overstays its welcome well before the finish. The twists and turns as Quaid tries to figure out whether he’s in a dream or in reality underwhelm, and the mystery of is he a spy or isn’t he feels underplayed. Having seen the original, this movie felt uninspired, unworthy, and watered down. Kate Beckinsale as Quaid’s fake wife has a great game face, but Ferrell has little to work with as he spends most of the time running and being shot at. Production values aside, this movie feels stale. If you’re looking for something with a tighter punch and more imagination, recall the facts.