22 August 2012

Film: Total Recall (2012)

Thoughts: Even though it's a completely unnecessary film, Total Recall serves up some high-octane action, amazing visuals CG wise, and more lens flare than you can reflect your watch at. That is, as long as you can get past the (not so) shocking lack of interest in the script, story, acting and characters.

Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) is unhappy with his life- including being married to Kate Beckinsale. I could just stop there and be done, but for the sake of blog continuity and great justice, I'll continue. He heads on over to Rekall, a facility that caters in false memories for those that want a jolt or release from the humdrum of everyday life. Something goes wrong with the procedure, and suddenly he's on the run, and taking down dudes (and robots) with frightening efficiency. And running some more. Oh, and jumping. A LOT. He's being chased by his now-homicidal wife, and is also assisted by the just-here-for-the-paycheck rebel Jessica Biel. And yet the question remains, who is Doug Quaid really? But more importantly, does it matter?

The film cribs liberally from any number of associated sci-fi and action films. Visuals from Blade Runner and Fifth Element, action scenes and moments from the Bourne trilogy, the hover car sequence from Minority Report, etcetera. There's nothing particularly wrong with that. The music sparks comparisons to sound effects from the Transformers films mixed with dubstep, which again, isn't much of an issue. And the characters are so flat and one-dimensional, the dialogue so limp, you could very well just throw a bunch of chiselled action figures at one another and get the same desired effect. Still no biggie. Yes, the real problem with the film is just how lukewarm it all is. I mean, look at me. I'm sitting here giving a pretty terrible film a shrug and a "move along". It's just a very vanilla film.

The film is full of fun little inconsistencies and moments though. Personally I like Colin Farrell, but I don't think he fits the role of an ordinary, rather diffident bookish type, and that is the character that is offered here. Jessica Biel gets the coveted Ackbar Award for her warning of "IT'S A TRAP!" a full 20 seconds after an unexpected video pops up of the big bad announcing that this was his plan all along, and that he's comin' to git ya. There's such fun moments as when a robot soldier is told to track a signal, and opens up his wrist-computer to start typing in info and tracking a little hologram of the building. Uhhh, he's a robot, guys. He should probably not be an AI operating an AI on his wrist, he should probably already be networked into that kind of shit. Also, there's these funky Apple iPhone 10s or something built into our hands that involve you pushing your hand up against a hard surface, and a little video conference starts. I can imagine there would be A LOT of awkward tug-dials happening mid-coitus.
"Hey Steve, what's u- oh goddammit man, that's the third time this week! Have some decorum! Call me when you're done!"
"...nice stroke though." *CLICK*
Or how the military use special no-recoil automatic rifles, yet our protagonist uses one to propel himself through a zero-G environment. Or when our characters shoot out the window of a crazy-fast lift that goes through the core of the planet, and not only stick their heads out without bother, but CLIMB UP THE OUTSIDE. Or how no one seems to shoot while the good guys are down, but shoot when they get up and run.

Yeah, there's a lot of fun to be had, as long as you're not paying much attention, and have some friends around, and probably have a few modifiers nearby, illicit or otherwise. If nothing else, at least it'll make a damn sharp blu-ray. Oh, and there are a LOT of civilians caught in the crossfires! Like, A LOT! It's just weird!


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