Metascore
43

Mixed or average reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 41
  2. Negative: 7 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Aug 2, 2012
    88
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Aug 1, 2012
    83
    Farrell's diction is a noticeable upgrade from Schwarzenegger's but there's also his superior portrayal of sweaty apprehension and killer instinct.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 1, 2012
    75
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Aug 2, 2012
    70
    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 that eventually becomes deadening because there's just too much of it and it's dialed up too high.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Aug 3, 2012
    67
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    Aug 2, 2012
    67
    Wiseman's PG-13 remake isn't as funny, or vivid, or splatter-tastic. It contains no mutants, inflating heads, trips to Mars, or freaky little psychic dudes named "Kuato" emerging from people's stomachs. But it does a decent job setting up an unsubtle dystopia.
  7. 63
    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.
  8. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Aug 2, 2012
    63
    Strip away the video-game visual effects, the endless chases and zero gravity shootouts, and Total Recall comes down to this: What is reality?
  9. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 2, 2012
    63
    The movie marches in predictable formations as well. But when Biel's rebel pulls over in her hover car and asks Farrell if he'd like a ride, your heart may sing as mine did.
  10. Reviewed by: A. A. Dowd
    Aug 5, 2012
    60
    Wiseman's Total reboot won't betray your fond memories of its iconic predecessor. But those hoping for a real head trip - a truly cerebral Dick adaptation - will have to keep waiting.
  11. Reviewed by: Justin Lowe
    Aug 2, 2012
    60
    The outcome is engaging enough, although not entirely satisfying from either a genre or narrative standpoint, lacking both substance and a degree of imagination.
  12. Reviewed by: Allison Willmore
    Aug 2, 2012
    55
    The two films have the same underlying bone structure, sure, but this new Total Recall is made of more serious, more humorless stuff. It looks simultaneously lavish and interchangeable in its explosions and shoot-em-ups with a dozen other recent action movies, and in its sci-fi stylings with a dozen others in the genre.
  13. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Aug 6, 2012
    50
    Set in a high-tech yet shabby future, the remake of Total Recall is a fully realized piece of production design. But its script, credited to six authors, is more like a preliminary sketch.
  14. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Aug 2, 2012
    50
    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.
  15. Reviewed by: Jen Chaney
    Aug 2, 2012
    50
    So what makes this 2012 Total Recall superior to the Arnie model? For starters, there's an actual actor in the starring role.
  16. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Aug 2, 2012
    50
    Instead of drawing the audience in, the action scenes merely blur together. And the intriguing, thoughtful concepts at the story's core are glossed over.
  17. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Aug 2, 2012
    50
    The only laugh to be had in Total Recall, a ripsnorting sci-fi action extravaganza that starts well and works its way down to average, is in the opening credits, where we learn that the movie's primary production company is called Original Film. Really?
  18. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Aug 2, 2012
    50
    This one is somberly kinetic and joyless.
  19. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Aug 2, 2012
    50
    The new PG-13 movie is a fairly close adaptation of the Verhoeven, and lacks not just the earlier film's newness but its vigor, density, humor and R-rated juice. It's like the dinner-theater revival of a classic play, whose single asset is to remind those present how good the original was.
  20. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Aug 2, 2012
    50
    I rarely pinpoint the exact moment when a promising action movie turns into a pulpy, asinine mess, but I can do that with Total Recall.
  21. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Aug 2, 2012
    50
    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.
  22. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Aug 1, 2012
    50
    This Total Recall is fast, furious, and frequently confusing fun, but to be completely honest, it lacks the snappy, weirdo vibe of its predecessor.
  23. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Aug 1, 2012
    50
    The biggest flaw of the 1990 Total Recall was how disappointingly banal the endgame was. Wiseman adds some special effects and Michael Bay-style pyrotechnics, but the result is similar. It's doubly deflating because one of the great advantages of remaking a movie is being given the opportunity to correct problems - something not attempted here.
  24. Reviewed by: Todd Gilchrist
    Aug 2, 2012
    42
    A pastiche of almost too many movies to count as a remake of just one, Total Recall is mindless, middling fare that fails to utilize – much less expand – the provocative concepts at the core of its iconic 1990 predecessor.
  25. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Aug 1, 2012
    42
    Wiseman's Total Recall isn't intellectualized like "Blade Runner," or even that much more sophisticated than his "Underworld" movies.
  26. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Sep 1, 2012
    40
    It's a bit of a flavourless CGI-fest, without the character and comedy of the Arnie version, and it never really gets to grips with the idea of "reality" as a slippery, malleable concept.
  27. Reviewed by: Helen O'Hara
    Aug 27, 2012
    40
    Perhaps no more absurd than the Verhoeven version, but certainly less amusing. Farrell and Beckinsale emerge unscathed, but the endless scrabbling for novelty and reinvention leaves this feeling unaccountably stale and familiar.
  28. Reviewed by: Rob James
    Aug 17, 2012
    40
    Entertaining in small doses, but gruelling at two hours, Wiseman's derivative, spec-hackular upgrade bins the twisted wit and meaty thrills of the Arnie original.
  29. 40
    There isn't anything in this Total Recall to match the immortal Arnold Schwarzenegger send-offs, "See you at the pah-ty" and everyone's favorite alimony killer, "Consider this a divorce."
  30. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Aug 2, 2012
    40
    Like a drug that starts with a rush and ends with a headache, Total Recall is too much of a good thing.
  31. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Aug 2, 2012
    40
    This premise contains the seeds of an interesting economic and political allegory, but the ambitions of the filmmakers - lie in the direction of maximum noise and minimum sense.
  32. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 2, 2012
    40
    There's a lot of eye candy in what ends up being a slick, breathless and at-times enjoyable sci-fi update. Unfortunately, it's what Wiseman forgets to do that makes the biggest difference in his film -- and which keeps it from becoming much more than a glossy missed opportunity.
  33. Reviewed by: Kate Erbland
    Aug 2, 2012
    40
    Hardcore genre fans will likely be quite disappointed to find a film that trades vision and originality for something best described as bland and inoffensive.
  34. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 1, 2012
    40
    It's big and it's loud, but ultimately not much more than that.
  35. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Aug 3, 2012
    38
    As for a villain, you could do worse than Bryan Cranston as the evil political overlord who is trying to stamp out the resistance -- When he goes mano a mano with Farrell, it's not spine-tingling. It's embarrassing, like watching a dude beat up his dad.
  36. Reviewed by: John Semley
    Aug 1, 2012
    38
    Len Wiseman's Total Recall's a trifling mess, as superfluous as a third breast.
  37. Reviewed by: Chris Packham
    Aug 5, 2012
    30
    Where Paul Verhoeven's original was testosterone-stupid and, therefore, fun, Wiseman's film is just boring-stupid.
  38. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Aug 2, 2012
    30
    The remake has no grace notes, or grace, no nuance, no humanity, no character quirks, no surprises in the dialogue and no humor.
  39. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Aug 2, 2012
    25
    The new Total Recall fails on the most basic levels: Its characters are dull, and its action is duller.
  40. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Aug 2, 2012
    25
    Since the new Recall is totally witless, don't expect laughs. Originality and coherence are also notably MIA.
  41. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 2, 2012
    20
    There's something sadly poetic about a movie dealing with disappearing memories that vanishes from your mind while you watch it.
User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 316 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 61 out of 105
  2. Negative: 23 out of 105
  1. Aug 7, 2012
    3
    Total Failure - the first third of the movie is OK (I really liked the gadgets!). Just when the story started to get interesting, suddenly the visual effects guy got in the way and the video editor decided to do his/her job while smoking pot. The story line is filled with inconsistencies to the point that it is annoying. Suddenly you will be twisting in your seat watching all the goofs throughout the last two thirds of the movie. Save you trip to the theater for this one and watch it on TV once it hits Netflix (wait, with the poor quality of content in Netflix these days you may need to watch it on cable TV - which either way is just fine). Full Review »
  2. Aug 4, 2012
    8
    Before I launch into some gleeful pointing out of this movie's plentiful plot holes, I want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Total Recall. Possibly because it borrowed from some of my favorite movies. Not just Total Recall, but also hints of The Matrix, Fifth Element, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith found their way in, with perhaps a dash of Terminator and a sprinkle of Johnny Mnemonic, to name a few.

    Also, the special effects were excellent, and the protagonist and his love interest were relentlessly appealing, not to mention almost supernaturally attractive. The final five minutes might have viewers grown weary of climatic fist fight scenes rolling their eyes, but other than that, it was well paced and extremely enjoyable.

    Now, on to pointing out plot holes. Warning, spoilers ahead!

    If you have the technology to send your wage slaves through the core of the Earth to build your robot army for you, you would have the technology to create radiation proof housing, with proper ventilation and tasteful decoration, to ease overcrowding. If you have the technology to create robot forces, you have the technology to create robots to make your robots, so you don't need wage slaves traveling through the core of the Earth (however cool and essential to the plot that mode of transportation might be), to make your robot army for you.

    One also wonders why the only way to travel from what was once Australia to what was once Europe is through the core of the Earth. Sure, it's fast, but it was really the only way post-apocalyptic blue collar workers could commute? But then again, because it was made clear that this mode of transportation is the only mode of transportation, it really helped wrap the plot up neatly.

    It also seems that humanity, while creating a robot army, a subway tunnel through the Earth, and a cellphone implant, failed to create a way to subdue a civilian population that didn't involve a troop transport of soldiers marching in, however robotic the rank and file of those soldiers might be. Of course, they wouldn't want to simply blow the civilian population up, seeing as how, for some bizarre reason, they still needed human workers.

    And clearly the human workers needed subduing by the robot forces, because even though the evil overlords in Europe had the technology to completely wipe a person's memory, they must not be able to create Stepford Aussies to do their work for them.
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 27, 2012
    3
    Wow. I'm gonna give a general spoiler here: there is a little twist at the beginning that seems to set up a cool movie, and then the rest of the movie is one giant chase scene without a single moment of story. I couldn't believe how many times the heroes are backed into a corner when at the last minute they pull out their guns and start shooting and then comes the getaway. This is nearly the entire movie. A pointless experience. Full Review »