2 1/2 stars
In the opening seconds of the "Total Recall" remake, the words "original film" appear on the screen, referring to a production company calling itself Original Film. So before it even begins, the movie delivers its first inadvertent joke.
Original this thing is not, and necessary it's not, either. Then again, how many big-budget do-overs can be described as strictly necessary? Though director
Like that one, this one is a project based on a short story ("We Can Remember It for You Wholesale") by the dystopian fantasist
Like those films, the "Total Recall" remake traffics in notions of duality, riddles of identity and, more to the point, hover cars. Hover cars! Honestly, what's cooler? Very little, that's what. "Total Recall" may depend on memory implants and ominous surveillance techniques to imperil our hero, played by
The future may be a grind, and global chemical warfare has reduced the globe to two lousy entities, the
Farrell's character, Quaid, lives a decent if nightmare-plagued life; nocturnally, he dreams about running from bad guys alongside
For the uninitiated, we'll simply say Farrell's life is not what it seems, and that first visit to the dream factory for a memory-implant vacation doesn't go well. Beckinsale gets to toggle between two accents, and the talented and fiercely physical Biel's musculature is more expressive than most of the dialogue. Wiseman shows minimal to moderate facility for shaping a complicated action sequence; what he has done, though, successfully, is turn the capital of UFB into a wonderful/horrible futuristic metropolis, something like
I wish the killing mattered more, and the human stakes were higher. (Much of the carnage is synthetic carnage, i.e., the shooting and dismembering of police "synthetics," resembling clones from the George Lucas universe.) The synthetics march around in predictable patterns while one of the major characters struts around like an enraged supermodel. 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.
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity and language).
Running time: 1:49.
Credits: Directed by
"Total Recall" Movie Trailer
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