Total Recall Review: Red Pill or Blue Pill
I want to start out by saying that I wasn't disappointed with this film-- as opposed to what I was expecting. What the heck is wrong with reviews nowadays?! They're just totally erratic for some reason. How can The Bourne Legacy fair better than this? I don't get it. I really have to see things for myself now, and in this case, I'm glad I did.
1990 VS 2012
I have to point out though that my expectations were low going into the movie, I wasn't expecting much here, so I don't know if that became a factor as to why it turned out well for me. I also haven't seen the Arnold Schwarzenegger version, and I actually don't really intend to. Total Recall (2012) made great use of current technology to shoot some of the awesome futuristic scenes that I think I'd just be disappointed to see how fake everything would appear in Total Recall (1990).
Also, I've read the plot and it just seemed literally out of this world, they were in mars for goodness sake. I liked how Total Recall (2012) made it more realistic and down to earth (literally), where what was before 'colonized mars' was now simply the colony from the other side of the globe of the United Federation of Britain.
It had an interesting back story too, how habitable places are considered the world's most precious resource, and how these two extreme parts of the globe are the last remaining places people can freely breathe in. Scarcity in land has forced people to build houses where ever possible, so everywhere is cramped and severely populated. This became a reason behind justifying a war for land, but that comes later.
Less Mind Games More Action
So the story starts with a factory worker named Douglas Quaid, who lives with his wife Lori. Everything seems okay on the outside, but actually he feels his life has become monotonous and lacking... something. That's when he decided to try Rekall, advertised to give you memories beyond your wildest dreams.
The moment he stepped into Rekall, I wanted it to become sort of a crossroad. How you wouldn't be able to tell if what was happening was reality or simply how it is happening in his mind. John Cho, the Rekall employee, did say why not be a spy, a double agent even, and that's how it precisely panned out. It turns out he wasn't a simple factory worker, he was actually Carl Hauser, the best UFB agent there ever was who turned traitor and set his allegiance to the resistance.
But is it real or is it all in his head?
I think the writers intended this film to play more mind games but they weren't very satisfactory with this, and I think this is where all the antagonism from the critics are coming from. You just know everything was happening for real. Like the crucial part that tested him if he would shoot Jessica Biel just to prove that everything was simply implanted in his mind and he would simply wake up, but he ended up shooting his 'best friend' instead. I don't know about you but this kind of reminded me of a more subdued but memorable scene in the Matrix.
Morpheus: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
And from then the chase was on, and he never looked back.
Though what lacked in mind games they made up with top notch action sequences situated in unbelievable locations such as parkour over elevated houses (I forget how awesome Kate Beckinsale can be in action sequences), hover car chases in elevated streets, brutal fights in moving elevators, seeing a pattern here? And I especially liked how they set all this in a realistic picture of the future.
A Few Steps Ahead of the Game
I'm not sure if this will work for everyone, but I liked the fact that I can guess what's about to happen a few steps ahead of them based on what they just did before. It's one of those films where I feel I'm actually part of how the movie unfolded. I hope you'd see how I felt when you go see the movie for yourself.
Though I was wrong in one thing-- where part of me wished all that simply happened in his mind. I'm sure some people would think this ridiculous, but would agree that this would make the movie more memorable as a whole.
70% - Might just reach that 80%. Might be predictable. Still pretty watchable and something you'll talk about after.