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Total Recall Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Total waste. Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Forget it. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The remake has no grace notes, or grace, no nuance, no humanity, no character quirks, no surprises in the dialogue and no humor.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    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.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    This one is somberly kinetic and joyless.

    Read Full Review

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    The outcome is engaging enough, although not entirely satisfying from either a genre or narrative standpoint, lacking both substance and a degree of imagination.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Total Recall reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 14+

Remake is better looking, less violent, less thoughtful.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Total Recall is a remake of Arnold Schwarzenegger's popular 1990 sci-fi movie; both are based on a short story by cult author Philip K. Dick. The original, R-rated movie has gratuitous, shocking violence, which was sometimes played for laughs; this PG-13-rated version features more streamlined, martial arts-style fighting, with less blood -- though weapons are pulled, and characters do die. One sex-related joke from the original is repeated (an alien prostitute flashes her three naked breasts), and a married couple is scantily clad in bed. Language includes one "f--k" and many "s--t"s, plus other words like "a--hole" and "bitch." Characters drink beer in one scene, and a supporting character gets comically drunk. Teen sci-fi fans will be interested, but the movie seems destined for a short shelf life compared to the original.

  • Families can talk about Total Recall's violence. Was it exciting or disturbing? How does it compare to the violence in the original movie?
  • Is Quaid a good role model? How does he know he's doing the right thing if he doesn't know what's going on? What does he use as his moral guide?
  • What does Total Recall have to say about our future? Which concepts in it are realistic? Which are fantasy?
  • Does this remake have any new ideas/messages that weren't conveyed in the original? Why do you think they decided to make a new version?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: Although set in a bleak future, Total Recall has an old theme: people with power and money trying to control and/or destroy those without. A few brave individuals stand up against these difficult odds, and the main character must learn to trust others. There's also a message about the fact that who you were matters less than who you are/who you become.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: In this remake, Quaid is more admirable than he was in the original. He does a great deal of fighting, but it's mainly in self-defense. (He doesn't relish violence.) He has a great challenge to overcome: He wants to choose the greater good, but he can't remember anything, and everyone he thinks he can trust gives him different information.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: The original movie's R-rated graphic violence has been toned down somewhat; though this version still has wall-to-wall martial arts-style fighting, nothing seems extra bloody, gratuitous, or mean. There are futuristic guns and other weapons, and characters are shot and killed. There are bloody wounds, but not a huge amount of gore. Characters fight with a knife, and one gets stabbed. Quaid must painfully slice a "phone" out of the palm of his hand with a chunk of broken glass (this is more implied than shown).

  • sex false3

    Sex: Repeating a joke from the first movie, an alien prostitute opens her coat and reveals three naked breasts. Quaid encounters her in a kind of "red light" district that hints of prostitution and "pleasure robots." Quaid kisses two women, one his "fake" wife and the other his "real" girlfriend. He wakes up in bed next to the wife, and they're both scantily clad. There's some slight innuendo as they begin to seduce one another, but they're interrupted.

  • language false3

    Language: One use of "f--k," plus very frequent use of "s--t." Other words include "a--hole," "goddamn," "ass," "d--k," "damn," "hell," "ass," and "bitch," plus "oh my God" and "Jesus Christ" (as exclamations).

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: A character grabs a Heineken beer from the refrigerator.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Quaid grabs a beer from his fridge, but he doesn't open it. Instead he goes to a bar and drinks beer with his buddy, who gets comically drunk.