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Review: Total Recall

August 2, 2012, 7:52 am
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Without further adieu, to assuage your greatest fears, there is a three-breasted hooker that pops up in Len Wiseman's re-rub of Total Recall. Truly the ultimate show of respect for the 1990 sci-fi schmaltz-tacular.

Now while everyone and their mother is going to - understandably - make comparisons between the two big screen adaptations of Philip K. Dick's story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, it's not like we're discussing a remake of a cinematic masterpiece like Blade Runner, another Dick-penned tale. The original Total Recall hasn't exactly aged gracefully. And I'm not just talking about Ah-nold's "acting".

What we have upon us is a hyperkinetic, overloaded-on-adrenaline revision that's capable of standing outside Schwarzenegger's shadow.

Dispatching the basics: Colin Farrell subs for the ex-Governor of California as Doug Quaid, the lunch pail worker tormented by dreams of a more danger-loaded life in the dystopian world of 2084. Off he goes to Rekall - the mind-altering outfit - to add some spice to his life.

All hell breaks loose, just as it did when the seven-time Mr. Olympia was strapped to the chair, but Wiseman - working off an arguably sleeker screenplay - ups the ante with an all-out barrage of special effects that borders on a bludgeoning. And I mean that as a compliment...I think.

Minority Report-styled rocket cars soar through the skies, landing on super-sized conveyor belts as Quaid attempts to flee from his wife-turned-assassin, the ridiculously relentless - not to mention gorgeous - Kate Beckinsale.

Upping the beauty factor to unbearable is Jessica Biel, a feisty member of the government resistance who aids Quaid in his efforts to figure out what in the heck happened to life as he knew it and rage against the machine in the process.

Make no mistake about it, this is a popcorn flick - check the majority of your brain at the door. But save enough to savor the blitzkrieg of enervating effects that would make an Electronic Arts programmer mightily proud.

Grade: B

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It was many moons ago in a darkened theater that my love of cinema took root as I snuck in to see my first R-rated film, Blade Runner. The futuristic vision that Ridley Scott unleashed on the screen was simply soul-expanding — spiritual even. From that moment, my mission to have that kind of magic strike again began in earnest. My hope is to be able to shine a light on films that may just have that kind of effect on you — films that may be lesser known, but not lesser in impact. 
             
- Erick Weber

Final Cut Scoring System
99-95% Opening night
94-90% Opening weekend
89-86% In theaters
85-83% On Demand
82-80% Netflix/Redbox
79-75% If desperate
74-70% If dozing off
69-65% If intoxicated
64-60% If comatose
Below 60% If brain dead

Erick's reviews
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