The trailer for Len Wiseman’s new ‘Total Recall’ update left me wondering why anyone would remake this movie. It looked scene-for-scene identical to the original film, just with newer visual effects and different actors. Indeed, the segments shown in the previews are almost exactly the same as the previous movie. Fortunately, seeing them in the context of the big picture, those bits are integrated into a mostly different story.
Set in the future, a guy (Colin Farrell) feels down and out, trapped in a melancholy state of mind. To escape from his worries, he goes to a parlor named Rekall that implants contrived memories into his mind. Just as the Rekall folks are about to begin the process, however, the facility is raided by police and robotic cops that kill everyone in sight and want to arrest him. Suddenly, as if awakened from within, our mundane hero starts kicking ass. Of course, the question that we’re left asking is whether this is real or just a Rekall-created dream.
That much of the plot is identical to the original, but the story that takes place within the premise is quite different. Lots of small tokens from the original film pop up here and there. For example, our hero uses a face-altering technology and there’s a hooker with three breasts. (Yes, the film manages to get away with triple-boobed nudity in a PG-13 remake.) Some of these require you to pay close attention and be well-versed with the original.
Some things work better than the original and some do not. What doesn’t work as well? The pacing. Almost every single scene in the remake feel longer than it needs to be, as if every single shot should cut before it does. This is even the case during the action scenes. Shots tend to lag on screen much longer than they need to.
While the new story works just fine, it’s completely void of any and all originality, which the original definitely featured. Without spoiling anything, the motives of the villain (played by Bryan Cranston) are identical to that of a certain bad George Lucas movie (which I’ll refrain from mentioning to keep it under wraps).
What works better? Obviously, the visuals. Wiseman has made another very good-looking movie. The well-polished look adds a great new level to the action-filled sci-fi world.
My favorite addition to the new ‘Total Recall’ is Wiseman’s wife, Kate Beckinsale. Truth be told, I have a major celebrity crush on Beckinsale, which this movie only furthers. Beckinsale plays a ruthless villain. If you thought that she was a bad-ass chick in the ‘Underworld‘ movies, you haven’t seen anything yet. She’s a gorgeous killer who steals every scene she’s in. When she’s not killing us with her looks, she’s simply killing – and boy is it fun to watch. ‘Total Recall’ also co-stars another beautiful actress playing a tough female role, but Jessica Biel has nothing on Beckinsale here.
When going to see expensive action movies like this, all I expect is to be constantly entertained. In that way, ‘Total Recall’ is not a disappointment. It’s not without its flaws, but it’s all-around summer blockbuster eye candy.