The Grade Book: “Total Recall”

Total Recall

Plot: In the future, a factory worker named Douglas Quaid begins to suspect that he is a deadly spy after things go wrong when he visits Rekall — a company that provides people with fake memories of another life. Based on the short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick.

Director: Len Wiseman.

Writers: Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback.

Cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Bryan Cranston, Jessica Biel, and Bill Nighy.

Genres: Science Fiction, Action.

Running Time: 2 hours and 1 minute.

MPAA Rating: PG-13.




SUMMARY OF THOUGHTS: Total Recall has great set designs and exciting action scenes, but some script problems and mediocre acting cripple it a bit. While the 1990 version remains better, this remake is mostly fitting as a fun summer popcorn flick — though nothing really special.



  • Christian Becker:

Grade: B-

Not as good as I wanted it to be, especially when comparing it to the original. No performances really stood out, and the emotion is pretty vacant. Still, the action is fun and the set pieces are breathtaking, making for a mildly enjoyable summer escape.

  • Joe Cauwel:

Grade: C

This remake is average at best. The only thing it has going for it is awesome special effects. Beyond that, the performances are poor and it lacks all of the charm found in the original film.


  • Tyler Christian (Cali Critic):

Grade: C

A remake that had potential to possibly hold up to the original on a certain scale with its supposedly darker, more serious tone, but it ultimately falls flat with its uninspired direction. Performances are okay, the action is decent for the most part, but director Len Wiseman seems more interested in the eye candy than the actual core mystery elements that made the original so complex. Overall, it’s just one of those remakes that has nothing new in its style, and really had to justified purpose to be made in the first place.

  • Chad Gleason (MovieManCHAD):

Grade: B+

The great special effects and non-stop exciting action kept me entertained the entire time.

  • James Michael Holtz (WeWatchedAMovie):

‎Grade: B+

Just pretend the title doesn’t say Total Recall and your likely to enjoy it for what it is. A straight up,well oiled action film that isn’t trying to be anything else. Including the movie it’s re-making.

  • Steven Hunt: 

Grade: A-

I haven’t seen the Arnold version, but this movie was exactly what I wanted it to be. The performances were good, but they’re not the main focus. The action in the movie was fantastic: the CGI was amazing, the camerawork was very well done, and you could always see what was going on. I also loved how I couldn’t predict what was coming next. One of the best action movies of the year so far, highly recommended.

  • Scott Menzel:

Grade: B

Total Recall is harmless and mindless fun. The story is pretty loyal to the original and the film’s writers do a decent job of bringing it up to date for our generation. The film is ultimately summer fluff, but kept me entertained throughout its 2 hour run-time. The film’s weakest link in my opinion is Beckinsale who just seems to have a blank stare on her face throughout most of the film, otherwise its a solid popcorn flick.

  • Jake Peffer:

Grade: C

It has great special effects and set designs but the story lags and isn’t anything special. The performances range from mediocre to decent and it just felt like it could have been a lot better.

  • Arelis Ramos (Shipper War):

Grade: B-

Beautiful film, fun action, but the story fell short after the first hour once the big reveal of the main premise, which was disappointing.

  • Daniel Rester: 

Grade: B-

Len Wiseman seems more focused on gun play and noise than with the mind games of the story in Total Recall. That said, the action is impressive and the visuals are top-notch — with set designs reminiscent of those in Blade Runner. Colin Farrell is fine in the lead and Jessica Biel brings some charm to the film, but Bryan Cranston’s talent is wasted and Kate Beckinsale turns in a weak performance. Overall, this is an okay summer film that action fans will find more fun than others. I found the original much better as a whole, though, and I would give that film an A (it has dated visuals, but it was just a lot of fun).


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