Total Recall

Release Date: August 3, 2012

It's the rarest of rare conjoined butt twins.

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Position Staff In Brief
149/169 Max Braden However cheesy Schwarzenegger's version was, it was entertaining. There's no chemistry and no mystery in this version, and elements like the hover car chase were done better in other movies.

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Hollywood isn’t out of ideas, audiences are. That’s why they keep paying to see remakes. On the upside, Arnold and Sharon Stone are gone this time, so the acting should be a tick better. If you don’t remember the 1990 version, or the story it was based on, believe me - there’s a reason stuff gets remade. Good stories are good stories, and Philip K. Dick gets more work these days than Tupac. Worlds suffocated by technology, human beings alienated from their humanity have become such a part of the sci-fi film landscape that it’s hard to tell which stories are his, and which aren’t.

Well, this one isn’t. Len Wiseman takes some significant liberties with his source material as he brings what remains of Dick’s story to the big screen for the second time. I mention it for the benefit of the few who will care that they don’t get to see Mars this time. Everyone else is going to compare this to the original film, and I can tell you already that the Total Recall HD trailer is one of my favorite things so far this year. It’s hard to tell much about the story but it sure does look great, and this time around the future appears to contain much less plastic and styrofoam.

Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale represent upgrades as Quaid and Lori. The jury remains out on Wiseman, who for now is best known for giving humanity the Underworld franchise, and for casting his wife in all his films. I’m not holding that against him - at least one of the Underworld films was good, and Kate Beckinsale is the most wondrous creature currently inhabiting our small, fragile world. I give him even odds of pulling it off.

For one thing, Wiseman’s film will not contain the juvenile sarcasm of Verhoeven’s. And the state of world affairs is such that a dystopian near-future political thriller seems timely. But more than a few studios have gone all in lately on sequels that nobody really seemed to want, and the results have been mixed. I know, I know. This isn’t a sequel. But that’s the point - the one thing that makes audiences roll their eyes faster than the word “sequel” is the word “remake”.

I’m not against it, but a Total Recall remake wouldn’t even have been in my top 50 Movies I’d Beg to See. Assuming most people feel the same, the movie’s got a steep hill to climb. But it looks great, the trailers are effective and the cast is appealing. If you were gonna make this movie again, it already could have turned out worse. All it’ll take is one good weekend, and people like me will get off the fence and onto the bandwagon. (Bruce Hall/BOP)

Vital statistics for Total Recall
Main Cast Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale
Supporting Cast Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho, Bill Nighy
Director Len Wiseman
Screenwriter Kurt Wimmer, Mark Bomback
Distributor Sony/Columbia
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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