Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Questions, questions nip at Len Wiseman's Total Recall like so many rats at the feet of a sleeping hobo. The big Why is Why bother?
San Francisco Chronicle:
For all of its dazzlingly rendered cityscapes and nonstop action, this revamped "Total Recall" is a bland thing - bloodless, airless, humorless, featureless. With or without the triple-bosomed prostitute.
Wiseman directs his film as if it's a shark... But really, it's more of a carp, shiny and pretty but fat and dopey, fed on nothing but scavenged leftovers.
New York Times:
This premise contains the seeds of an interesting economic and political allegory, but the ambitions of the filmmakers - Len Wiseman directed a script by Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback - lie in the direction of maximum noise and minimum sense.
Wall Street Journal:
The remake has no grace notes, or grace, no nuance, no humanity, no character quirks, no surprises in the dialogue and no humor ...
Wisemen's film is a soulless mess, reminiscent of the unwatchable "Matrix" sequels, while Verhoeven's movie remains a dazzling carnival.
Its only evident passion is for excessive lens flares.
In the end, here's the worst sin of this slick, high-octane memory play: It's forgettable.
The new version, with its humorless dialogue and Farrell's smoldering performance, suffers from a self-seriousness that undercuts any genre pleasures. But the action is thrilling and the futuristic setting superbly realized.
The talented and fiercely physical Biel's musculature is more expressive than most of the dialogue.
Christian Science Monitor:
Director Len Wiseman is good on action, and Patrick Tatopoulus's dystopic production design is within hailing distance of Blade Runner, his chief influence. But essentially this is a big-screen video game.
Whatever tug Total Recall has on the imagination comes from the vague sense we've seen it all before. And seen it better: from Christopher Nolan's Inception to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner.
Those who buy a ticket to Total Recall may not go in expecting a generic Bourne sequel, but that's about what they'll be getting - just set in a Blade Runner universe made of giant gray Lego blocks.
Like a novelty cover band, Wiseman's "Total Recall" [goes] through a checklist of "things you have to do if you do a 'Total Recall.'"
Engaging enough, although not entirely satisfying from either a genre or narrative standpoint, lacking both substance and a degree of imagination.
San Jose Mercury News:
After a rousing setup, this visually striking remake falls back much too heavily on its action roots, with one chase scene after another and another. After a while, it's tedious.
The new Total Recall fails on the most basic levels: Its characters are dull, and its action is duller.
Farrell is confident and competent regardless of the situation; there never seems to be any real threat of him coming out alive.
"Total Recall" is a toned-down, smoothed-out version of an amped-up, bug-eyed classic.
The effects look great, but is that even worth noting when smart high-schoolers can make monsters on their laptops? What movie's effects don't look great these days?
The new Total Recall is a series of set pieces whose CGI environments trump narrative logic.
New York Daily News:
There's something sadly poetic about a movie dealing with disappearing memories that vanishes from your mind while you watch it.
Strip away the video-game visual effects, the endless chases and zero gravity shootouts, and Total Recall comes down to this: What is reality?
One of the great advantages of remaking a movie is being given the opportunity to correct problems - something not attempted here.
Casting and visuals are an upgrade, but we get far too many action sequences and not enough of the mind games.
"Total Recall" is well-crafted, high energy sci-fi. Like all stories inspired by Philip K. Dick, it deals with intriguing ideas. It never touched me emotionally, though, the way the 1990 film did, and strictly speaking, isn't necessary.
The Total Recall reboot is a futuristic fiasco, two hours you'll never get back - and every minute is a bad memory.
"Total Recall" is a doggone good time, with a bunch of nifty technical and visual flourishes, competently managed plot twists and elegant, Wachowski-esque action choreography ...
This is a taut, serviceable sci-fi thriller with a couple of neat visual ideas, and if you're not familiar with either the Schwarzenegger version or the original story, the brain-bending twists alone will take you a reasonably long way.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
The richly constructed first hour is so superior to any feat of sci-fi speculation since "Minority Report" that the bland aftertaste of the chase finale is quickly forgotten.
I was no particular fan of the first Total Recall, but I confess that this flat, by-the-numbers remake made me a tad nostalgic for its bombastic preposterousness.
Globe and Mail:
Today's Total Recall does nothing to tarnish the image of yesterday's - 22 years from now, I expect it to be hailed as a classic.
'Total Recall' is Hollywood at its worst: pointless, witless, and so very unnecessary.
Crazy new gadgets, vigorous action sequences and a thorough production-design makeover aren't enough to keep Total Recall from feeling like a near-total redundancy.
Where Paul Verhoeven's original was testosterone-stupid and, therefore, fun, Wiseman's film is just boring-stupid.
While it may not be a fully realized take on Dick's forward-thinking work, it's still a far better film than the Verhoeven version.