Movie Review: Total Recall by Kamran Jawaid for Dawn Online

The review in this post is the unedited version of the copy up at (published and linked below for reference).


Memory Wiped? An Artificial Agenda? A Super-Secret Super Agent!? His Two Women! – Now That’s Gotta Be The Future.

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

If you’re a betting person then count on this: the future is gonna be pretty darn paranoid, totalitarian. I mean, almost all big-budget future-set science fiction films know this for sure, so its time us normal people accepted sure-fire facts: The future is going to happen – and we will have cell-phones surgically embedded in our hands (I hope the line rent is cheap, though).

In the bleaker, over-crowded version shown in Total Recall – the new remake with Colin Farrell, and not the original one with Arnold Schwarzenegger – society is split-into two zones (obviously, there was a chemical war once). The one of modest riches is the half-grungy, Minority Report looking, beneficiary to Britain. The other, connected through Earth’s core and a one-fall elevator, called, um, The Fall, is the Colony – a sopping reminder of Blade Runner. This proclivity for movie referencing is central to Recall. It is after all, adapted from Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” (ergo the overall dystopia).

Like Mr. Schwarzenegger, Mr. Farrell comes bundled with a babe for a wife. She is the real-life wife of Len Weisman – also the film’s director – Kate Beckinsale, a one-and-a-half dimensional character who shuttles through her police-job day-shift enforcing rogue outfits run by (the miserably wasted) Bill Nighy. Sporting non-tearing body-suits and killer body-blows, she must have a thing for working class guys.

Mr. Farrell, who goes by the name Quaid and works at an assembly plant, wakes up with recurring nightmares. He is baffled by the woman in his dreams – Jessica Biel, also clad in body-hugging wear. A little later, we learn that she’s a resistance member and a severed romantic-connection, who helps him scamper from the government when he unlocks part of his self-locked memories.

And so we find out that (spoiler alert!) Quaid is a top-secret super-agent, who like the audience watching Recall, have no idea who he is, or better yet, what he’s doing in the movie.

Mr. Weisman’s take – written for full-commercial glorification by Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback – is a bad action film. Period. With flickering, (illogically, un-attractively placed) lens-flares, a short attention span and numb storytelling skills, Recall is his successive stint to what Live Free Die Hard trumped. A blistering barrage that owes its foundation to the “idea” of what action movies should be. By the end of Recall, at least we know now what they shouldn’t be; Fun, intelligent and original, are slashed words in this production’s bible.

Amping-up on what would be daft semi-cyberpunk, requires a certain level of creativity. Not boom, badam, jumps and fast hand-to-hand, man-to-woman K.O. matches (Ms. Beckinsale, by the way, packs a mean whallop).

Mr. Farrell, on the other hand has the moves, and he’s got the touch (and a wasted personal charisma). I hope his paycheck was worth his all-too-visible sweat.

Released by Geo Films, Total Recall comes out this Eid. It is rated PG-13, but still manages to stuff-in nudity.

The published version is at:

And it looks like this:

TotalRecall-Dawn-Eid 3rd



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