Remake Rumble: Total Recall (1990) vs Total Recall (2012)

The 411: A remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger/Paul Verhoeven action flick, this adaptation of the Philip K. Dick story, “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”, casts Colin Farrell as Douglas Quaid who finds himself on the run after a disastrous trip to Rekall (a company that promises to turn your dreams into real life memories) results in his entire identity being proven false.

Douglas Quaid/Hauser (Arnold Schwarzenegger) vs Douglas Quaid/Hauser (Colin Farrell)

Colin Farrell is a good actor on occasion but sadly this is not one of them. His portrayal as Quaid/Hauser is not horrible or anything, it’s just there. he seems to just be going through the motions and his blase attitude makes the audience not really give a damn about Doug, Hauser or anything else that is going on with him.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is not a particularly good actor but he manages to make you care about his Douglas Quaid a heck of a lot more than Farrell did. With Schwarzenegger the sense of anxiety on his part to put together the pieces of his true identity are always at the forefront of the action and as a viewer that makes you root for him through all of his trials and tribulations.
Advantage: Total Recall ’90

Melina (Rachel Ticotin) vs Melina (Jessica Biel)

Rachel Ticotin’s Melina in the 1990 film looks like she was actually a world weary freedom fighter who has had to live a less than comfortable life due to the path she has chosen. Jessica Biel’s Melina looks like the biggest obstacle in her life is deciding what lip gloss to use. She has no depth at all as an actress and fails miserably at conveying that she is any type of high ranking resistance fighter.
But on the plus side her body looks like this:

Still doesn’t change my opinion of her in this movie though.
Advantage: Total Recall ’90

Lori Quaid (Sharon Stone) vs Lori Quaid (Kate Beckinsale)

While Kate Beckinsale’s Lori was in a lot more scenes and contributed to more of the action in the updated Total Recall than Sharon Stone’s Lori did in the original, Stone’s character just worked for me more. She was a cold blooded beyotch and that crazy-eyes thing that Stone did outdoes every second of gunshooting and buttkicking that Beckinsale did. It also didn’t help that Beckinsale’s Lori was seemingly a composite of Lori and Richter…and while she came up short by inches in comparison to Sharon Stone, she gets owned totally when compared to Michael Ironside in the villainy department.
Advantage: Total Recall ’90

Cohaagen (Ronny Cox) vs Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston)

Ronny Cox as Cohaagen was an evil son of a bitch. You could easily believe that he gut punched nuns in his spare time and had a sweet tooth for the delicate flesh of newborn puppies. The guy was just horribly evil. Bryan Cranston’s Cohaagen, it pains me to say, comes off as a bit of a lightweight. He doesn’t convey any of the prerequisite menace and malice that I wanted or even expected from him. Cox’s Cohaagen was a magnificent bastard; Cranston’s Cohaagen was just a bit of a dick.
Advantage: Total Recall ’90

About The Movies
This movie was so unnecessary. There was nothing lacking from the original that this film included or did better. The scrapping of the whole Mars portion, while keeping things closer to the source material, only made the comparisons even more lopsided. Total Recall 1990 was an almost perfect action movie while Total Recall 2012 is a flawed, bland, pedestrian movie that does nothing of note particularly well. The one thing that did impress me about the film was the visual design of the poor section. It was like a futuristic Brazilian favela with homes and buildings erected one on top of the other. The moody, rainy nature of the setting was straight out of the Blade Runner handbook though. Actually a lot of things looked like they were taken from earlier (better) movies from the genre like Minority Report and I, Robot.

Final Verdict: Nothing new to add to the sci-fi/action genre or even to the Total Recall concept, this film is just a loud, bright effects driven spectacle that lacks any of the depth, originality or quality of the original film. Not worth a trip to the theater or even a NetFlix unless really desperate for mindless entertainment. And even in those cases I’d recommend reading a book. Total Recall 1990: A-  Total Recall 2012: D+

3 thoughts on “Remake Rumble: Total Recall (1990) vs Total Recall (2012)

  1. Not really remembering the first movie, this one wasn’t bad. I think if you compare the two -people have certain opinions. This movie on its own, not bad, just a lot of fight scenes, too long..but, I liked it.


    1. It was definitely in need of a little editing. These types of action movies should really be no more than 90 minutes imo.


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