First Hit: I enjoyed this version more than the 1990 version.
Unlike “The Dark Knight Rises” (see previous review), the opening sequence sets up the story well.
The point of the opening sequence of a film like this is to set us up to get our buy-in, to have us suspend our reality and invite us into a story.
Total Recall does this and that is why I enjoyed it. Douglass Quaid, aka Houser, (played by Colin Farrell) is stuck in a life he doesn’t understand. He goes to work making robot enforcers in Great Britain from Australia by getting on and riding the “Fall”.
The Fall is what people call the vehicle which transports people through the only two habitable places on earth, Great Britain and Australia. Its path is through the middle of the earth and when it reaches the core there is a few minutes of gravity suspension because gravity switches its pull.
Australia is called the colony and everyone there is poor. It is ruled by Great Britain and Chancellor Cohaagen (played by Bryan Cranston) and they suppress everything for control. There, of course, is an underground group fighting the rule and Matthias (played by Bill Nighy) is their leader. Quaid’s wife Lori (played by Kate Beckinsale) is a cop and works a lot of nights investigating and killing the rebels.
We learn quickly, she’s one of the best and toughest investigators. Douglas, in his frustration with his life, goes to “Total Recall” which promises dreams that make you feel good. His visit takes us into a new story of what is reality and what is truth.
Although an unbelievable story, it works because the actors, script and direction allows us to believe it.
Farrell is very good and strong in both the physical challenges of the role but by also giving us a true sense of being lost and wanting to find the truth. Cranston is great as the Chancellor. Beckinsale is so strong in her physical role and was fun to watch. Jessica Biel (as Melina) was very good and shows strength in this physical role. Nighy is good in a limited but pivotal role. Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback wrote this effective screenplay while Len Wiseman gave this film believability, fun and action.
Overall: Enjoyable version of this story and worth the price of admission.