Total Recall (2012)
And here I thought I was taking a break from spy movies…
I had forgotten this was basically a Lewis Carroll counterespionage film. I really need to get around to reading the book. I was more familiar with the 1990 version but this one had a few nods in that direction. I liked the combination of Lori and Richter into one character in this one and I thought both Kate and Jessica brought a lot more to this than Farrell. I liked the look of the city better, I didn’t like the shitty background plot of imperial and colony after war, I liked the action but it was a little too choreographed and would have benefited from more of a feeling of being out of control, I didn’t like the clarity i.e. I missed the ambiguity, I didn’t miss the camp or bad acting of the first one, I think 3-tits could’ve been left out, I liked seeing an old classic attempted to be remade into our modern esthetic but it didn’t quite come far enough and lacked enough substance to leave that satisfied feeling, this one was a tease. I did enjoy seeing a continuation of our normal-guy-becomes-a-spy acted out in a slightly different way that is still the old saw of a sleeper agent accidentally activated and discovering they are a killing machine, their life is a lie and everyone they know is someone implicated. It’s not even remotely realistic but I’m starting to get the mechanism of trying to get the audience to mentally and emotionally commit.
Sometimes I forget that the storyline is an attempt to ponder the philosophical question of what is reality but the product of our senses? The whole premise centers around a manipulation of the senses to manipulate the perceived or relative reality (see cognitive or epistemic relativism, I think Hume?). The interesting thing to me is that, personally, this question has already been adequately answered for me by Leonardo DiCaprio, oddly enough, in the two recent movies: Shutter Island and Inception.
Here’s the best review I’ve seen yet:
“It’s Michael Bay filtering a Bourne movie through Inception backwards, with a cleansed Blade Runner backdrop to a new Underworld film.”
–Sam C. Smith
It’s decent enough as far as visual popcorn action movies go. If you haven’t seen the first one or read the books or seen any other Dick adaptations then just watch this one and be happy OR go read and see all the rest because you can’t have both and be completely happy.