Total Recall 2: Attack of the Clones   3 comments

“If the movie used to be a teevee show, just don’t go.  After Roman numeral two, give it a rest.  If it’s a remake of a classic, rent the classic!” – Jay Sherman

Top Line: Total Recall 2 is a straight to video reboot that somehow landed big name stars and a theatrical release.  That said, it’s mildly amusing for most of its runtime, which is about what you can usually expect from an August movie.

Who (probably) should see this movie: People who have seen Batman 7 twice or more, the mildly bored, and anyone who thinks, all evidence to the contrary, that Colin Farrell isn’t awful in almost everything.

Who (probably) should not see this movie: Paul Verhoeven, people who thought the loopy “Roger Roger” robots in the Star Wars prequels were menacing and competent, those who have seen Batman 7 only once or not at all, anyone with access to the Arnold Schwarzenegger version (this is why Movie Jebus gave us Netflix), and Schwarzenegger himself, but only because he’s such an asshole that he’d probably be giddy at how much worse this is than his.

Box Score:

Runtime: 1h:58m – And it could’ve been twenty minutes shorter without missing anything important.
Rated: PG-13 – I’m not even sure why.  I counted three “shits” and one “asshole”, but there isn’t even anything close to nudity besides the perfunctory and fake three-boobed-hooker.  The violence is all bloodless and silly.  It’s like, PG-8 or so.
Three Stars:

  1. Bokeem Woodbine – Minor Bad Guy:
    Really should’ve been playing the hero instead.  He’s way better than that twitchy, Irish pretty boy.
  2. Kate Beckinsale – Main Henchwoman:
    I suppose there are worse things than getting type cast as the ass kicking hot chick.  Does a good job with a too small part.
  3. John Cho – Clueless Salesman:
    One of the silver linings to relentlessly white movies like this one is that the few token minorities like Sulu get the best written parts, even if they are very brief.
Need to See In Theater (Baseline: 2):

  • +1 It’s hot out there
  • +1 It’s August, only a few weeks of summer left, and it’ll get you out of the house
  • +1 The upside down car chase is actually pretty good
  • -1 Colin Farrell is a terrible action hero
  • -1 Kinda weak computer graphics

Final Score: 3

Need to See Eventually (Baseline: 5):

  • +2 They remade one of Schwarzenegger’s classics, you kinda have to see it at least once
  • -1 It’s shiny graphics and beautiful people running around in tight clothing, one of these comes out every few weeks
  • -1 Five years from now nobody will remember they remade this because it’s not nearly as much fun as the first one

Final Score: 5

Bechdel (Baseline: 5):

  • +1 Ass kicking Kate Beckinsale
  • +1 Ass kicking Jessica Biel
  • +1 Girl fight that’s not a catfight
  • -2 They are both dating Colin Farrell though

Final Score: 6

IMDb Sez:


  • Len Wiseman:
    You may remember him from such mediocre to bad movies as the endless Underworld series and the crashingly dull Die Hard 4.


  • A Whole Bunch of People:
    IMDb credits five of them, which is always a bad sign.


  • Users: 6.4/10
  • Metascore: 44/100

Rotten Tomatoes Sez:

All Critics:


  • Average Rating: 5.2/10
  • Critic Reviews: 96
  • Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 66

Top Critics:


  • Average Rating: 4.8/10
  • Critic Reviews: 32
  • Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 26



  • Average Rating: 3.7/5
  • User Ratings: 35,005


  • The Rotten Tomatoes audience (73%) score looks high at first, but then you remember that they use the 6-9 scale, and that score translates to 33%.  (73-60=13(10/4)=32.5%.)
  • Farrell isn’t fit to flex Schwarzenegger’s biceps.
  • Biel and Beckinsale do a decent job of filling Rachel Ticotin and Sharon Stone’s leotards.  (The fashions change, the form fitting nature does not.  This is not a coincidence.)
  • Bryan Cranston is a pretty wimpy bad guy.  That’s not all his fault.  I don’t know whose idea it was to make him wear some kind of future-flack-jacket the whole time, but he looked like a hostage.  Ronny Cox and his power suit laugh at your rumpled weakness.
  • Speaking of weak bad guys, have I mentioned the “Roger Roger” robots?  The movie seems to think they’re menacing, but they are so relentlessly incompetent that they’re about as scary as Teddy Ruxpin.  (4 D-size, non-rechargeable batteries!  No wonder they advertised with Duracell.)  Late in the movie, Farrell and Biel stumble into a room full of them in “stasis mode” or some shit and the music goes ominous a la Will Smith in that same scene in I, Robot.  I almost laughed out loud.  Even the tougher one at the end basically just falls over (as they would).
  • The fight scenes are just plain bad.  Lots of whirling cameras and thick Foley effects, but it’s almost cartoonishly clean and bloodless.  Batman 7 does a much better job of obscuring its PG-13 rating.
  • The future used to be cooler, now it looks like Blade Runner if Sony owned the whole world and bought Microsoft’s legendarily shitty design department.
  • Childishly illogical political subtext is annoying.  You are a PG-8 popcorn movie, fuck off.
  • No gore and a decent but far too low body count.  Schwarzenegger killed more people in the reactor scene than Farrell did in his entire movie.
  • The production company is called “Original Film”, which is like calling a crappy subdivision “Sudden Valley” or having “Oceanview Estates” in Wisconsin.  It’s not original, and it’s not on film.  Two words, two lies.
  • The sets and the general “hey, it’s the future!’ vibe are very weak because all the future crap just looks like the Sony concept booth at an electronics expo.  If we’re going to have a society where all our media comes from giant companies who make most of their money from things other than media (and the occasional demented billionaire), can we at least get Google, and possibly Apple, to buy a movie studio?   Sony used to be a respected brand; now it’s a laughingstock that loses people’s credit card numbers and makes completely unnecessary remakes of movies that are only twenty years old.
  • There is a noticeable, if not quite Jeffrey Jacob Abrams level, of annoying lens flare.
  • Rifftrax, please?  It’s always fun to rag on Colin Farrell, and the “Roger Roger” robots basically mock themselves.

Bottom Line:  This is a bland, by the numbers action movie.  There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but be under no illusions that it might compare to the original.  It can’t even pull off a twist ending, so while it does have lots of gunfire, hot babes shooting machine guns, and all the other whiz bang accessories, ultimately it’s nothing special.

The upside down car chase is fun, but the villains here are hilariously incompetent.  Part of the ending involves them riding an elevator through the Earth’s core (I know, just go with it).  While in the core, they are all weightless, yet highly trained soldiers who’ve been through it many times before, some “Roger Roger” robots, and Underworld are taken totally by surprise by the gravity change . . . twice.

With bad guys that weak the movie really doesn’t have much to offer.  Total Recall had lots of gore, comic relief, and the biggest movie star in the world.  Total Recall 2 has none of those things, and would more properly be titled I, Robot 2.  And let’s not kid ourselves, going from Will Smith to Colin Farrell is a major downgrade.  This one can safely keep till home video.

Suggested Alternate Viewing:

Lockout (2012) – Vastly more fun, made the most of its PG-13 rating, and Guy Pearce was fantastic.

Total Recall (1990) – Why eat hamburger when you can have steak?

Trailers after the jump.

WARNING: The comments section is a spoiler friendly zone.  By reading this with your inner monologue, you have waved any right to bitch about spoilers in perpetuity throughout the universe.

Movies Deemed Demographically and Commercially Similar Enough to Have Trailers Before Total Recall 2:

Argo – Ben Affleck saves hostages in Iran through the power of a fake science fiction movie.  Looks watchable.

The Man With the Iron Fists – Tarantino, Wu-Tang, and Lucy Liu saying, “Power belongs to no one until it is seized through sex and violence”.  What’s not to love?

House at the End of the Street – Looks like a bog standard horror movie.  Jennifer Lawrence is in two big action franchises now, shouldn’t she be above this stuff?

Django Unchained – Fuck.  Yes.

SkyfallJames Bond 24 (Book of Craig, Chapter 3) looks better than James Bond 23, but that doesn’t say much.

3 responses to “Total Recall 2: Attack of the Clones

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  1. If the movie stinks… dosey-doe!

  2. “Original Film?” Yeah, I can see marinating a chicken in that.

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