<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Len Wiseman. Starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy, Bokeem Woodbine.
Can you call this a remake? Honestly? No. It’s a visually nice film that lacks a solid plot. It’s devoid of humour, real action and emotion and drags needlessly on and on, ultimately going nowhere.
I need to watch the original Total Recall again. You remember the one. With Arnold Schwarzenegger. The cult scene where his digital face mask pulls off like a puzzle… okay so I just watched the trailer of the original to refresh my memory (watch it below). Yeah sure it was a bit camp and cheesy. But it was entertaining as hell. I enjoyed that 2 minute 41 second trailer a lot more than I did watching the new Total Recall clocking in at nearly 2 hours!
Recall was supposed to be about the future, where life isn’t so great and they develop this new technology that allows you to sit back and have your brain wired up so you can experience a whole new world (Mars, if you like) and have that embedded as a memory in your head. So it’d be just like you were there. But then that could also lead to old memories being erased and altered. In the original Arnie is betrayed by his ‘wife’ played by Sharon Stone. Smokin’ hot! And though I’m a huge fan of Kate Beckinsale, I have to say she’s as flat as a pancake in this as Colin’s ‘wife’ – no that’s not an allusion to the size of her breasts.
Colin Farrell takes on Arnie’s role as Douglas Quaid/Hauser in this wishy-washy rehash of the original. In this post-apocalyptic world you have the United Federation of Britain (really!!), which sorta reminded me of the United Federation of Planets from Star Trek and you have the Colony (Australia, but it looks Japanese!), which is where all the ‘working class’ live and they commute to Britain in a tube called The Fall underground through the core of the Earth. The haves and have-nots, rebels and terrorists, you get the drift of where this is going.
Colin is basically a double agent and he doesn’t know it and he’s on the run. Kate is chasing him and his new GF Jessica Biel through a labyrinth of technology including floating cars, elevators and helicopters. The action is so staged that you feel like they’re rehearsing: holding back punches and going through the motions. Director Len Wiseman (the Underworld movies) and his music man Harry Gregson-Williams try to ratchet up the soundtrack to make you get into it all but it doesn’t help.
The first half drags on like a bad dream that you’re trying to wake yourself out of. Sure the set pieces look great and the iRobot-like ‘synthetics’ are cool but they could have been much more menacing. In fact, if you think about this film is a hotchpotch of elements from Blade Runner, i, Robot, Minority Report and I’m sure a few others. Like they’ve used the new Star Trek movie’s lens flares – very badly – through the movie so lines of light appear across the screen. Looked great JJ Abrams Star Trek but here it just looks sloppy.
This is Colin’s second remake (Fright Night was another horrendous one). Kate Beckinsale is basically continuing her dark/badass role from Underworld – director Wiseman is her hubby and I guess he doesn’t think she can play anything else. Biel is immensely forgettable. The wonderful Bill Nighy as a rebel leader barely has any screen time and is soon killed off.
Totally pointless, totally dull and totally unnecessary, I would suggest you give this one a miss and watch a good ol’ Arnie film instead. Because the old days of film are worth recalling.
Watch the trailer of the original Total Recall