For a film touted as being the big return to leading roles for Blade‘s Wesley Snipes, there was a whole lot of nothing in terms of build-up for Final Recall. Perhaps that’s because having watched it, you’d be hard-pressed to find any way of calling him the actual lead, beyond that he’s also a producer so has possibly negotiated himself a lead’s salary. For this aforementioned ‘big return’, Snipes finds himself playing the mysterious role of ‘The Hunter’ in Final Recall, a movie that manages to take all the tropes of ‘cabin in the woods’ horror films and ‘alien abduction/invasion’ action movies while taking a lot of what of makes those movies frightening, exciting or just entertaining and getting rid of it.
Our main points of view in this film are the standard bunch of hapless, sexy teens. We have the lovelorn romantic lead Charlie (Jedediah Goodacre – the most Mormon-sounding name in the world) with his tragic backstory, his romantic interest Annie (Laura Bilgeri), the couple who just want to have sex and who – of course – die first (Hannah Rose May and Niko Pepaj) and Brendan (Breaking Bad‘s RJ Mitte) who just wants to get night-time photos of bears. Of course things start to go off the rails when mysterious clouds start appearing with alien ships in them and maybe the mysterious ‘Hunter’ is their only key to escaping this whole crazy mess.
On a fundamental level, Final Recall‘s biggest issue is its lack of invention, as, if you’ve seen any horror or sci-fi films before, you can probably work out exactly what’s happening for the most part long before it does. Equally, Snipes seems to be the only one having fun over the film as every scene he’s not in is delivered by both in-front and behind the camera talent with such perfunctory lack of interest that it’s a wonder they didn’t just edit in footage from other films in place of just shooting their own.
This is not to say the film is without any merit. As pointed out, Snipes hams his part up to eleven and is a joy to watch, even if not fully intentionally. RJ Mitte manages to not embarrass himself in a role that admittedly demands very little of him, but it is at least satisfying to watch him in a part not defined by his cerebral palsy as he as an actor is far more than that. The last fifteen minutes of the film seem like it’s taken from a very different and far more entertaining version of the movie as it takes random, bizarre twist after random, bizarre twist without so much as a thorough explanation and frankly it seems like it would be extra confusing if they tried to provide one. I haven’t even begun to talk about the B-plot involving a council of NASA scientists, or something like that, monitoring the alien invasion or that Wesley Snipes is somehow connected to this because he used to be an astronaut. It’s a weird film.
Ultimately, Final Recall is the kind of half-formed project that is destined for neither true greatness or cult revery because it’s just not good or bad enough to provoke much thought. That said, if it just happens to be on and you really had no other plans, it’s certainly watchable. Just don’t expect anything from it, but there is a strong chance that it will disappoint. The ending strongly hints at a set-up for some form of sequel, if they manage to make such a thing happen. I honestly don’t know if I’d care enough to watch it but certainly, I’d like to know what happens next.
Dir: Mauro Borelli
Scr: Sam Acton King, Reggie Keyohara III
Cast: Wesley Snipes, RJ Mitte, Jedidah Goodacre, Laura Bilgeri, Niko Pepaj, Hannah Rose May, Scott Nettleton, Sean Millington, Graham Shiels, Tracey Hway
Prd: Kevin DeWalt, Danielle Masters, Wesley Snipes
DOP: Mark Dobrescu
Music: Todd Bryanton
Run time: 87 minutes
Final Recall is out on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download now.