Ok, I kind of gave away what I thought about the movie but here’s the thing, while Total Recall has some great special effects and Kate Beckinsale, those two things are not enough to sustain the movie.
This is, of course, a remake of the Paul Verhoeven film with good old, Arnold Schwarzenegger. That movie was a blast, funny in places, full of action, and even hinted at a larger story, one that dealt with the idea of appearance and reality.
This movie forgoes a lot of the cheesy humor of the first one for a slicker, faster paced and high action version. Collin Farrell takes over from Arnie and if there’s an oscar for looking confused and stupid, he should get it. He’s awesome at it. In scene after scene, he stands around with his mouth open, blinking and looking lost.
Oh sure, they keep a number of things from the first movie: The three breasted woman. The muderous wife (first played by Sharon Stone and now played with demonic drive by Kate Beckinsale.) The plot – a man goes to get himself some nifty new memories and discovers that he has already had memory adjustments and is, in fact, a secret agent.
But in the first one, they went to Mars, while in this one, there’s some weird thing about Britain and Australia being the only places that have avoided a world-destroying plague. So, instead of space travel, we have a HUGE chunnel that goes from England to downunder. You heard me, a tunnel.
Now this raises so many questions right off the bat. Somehow they can carve something through the center of the earth but they can’t clear out a few extra buildings of biochemical fog and dust? I mean they even have robots. Lots of them. But instead of sending out the robots to clean up a walmart or something, they paint them in cool colors and make them police-units.
But wait, we’re in england or aussieland and yet everyone speaks with an american accent (except Kate Beckinsale for some of the movie). What is up with that? Collin Ferrell’s freaking irish, why force him to do a try and do an american accent? The rebel leader is Bill Nighy, for the love of god, an englishman, and yet, there he is faking up an american accent.
Then there’s the villain. I love (LOVE) Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad. He is brilliant! But here, he has no depth, he has no motivation and simply appears on screen to make a fool of himself. As for his main henchman, or henchwoman, Kate Beckinsale, the wife, she is a weapon of mass destruction, one part sexy ninja, one part 007 killer, and, well, that’s about it. No depth. No reason why she wants to kill Collin Ferrell so badly, no reason why she is SO driven. It’s just a plot point.
So, if you like lots of action, plenty of shooting and some damn fine special effects, then this movie is for you. If you want more meat, more character, more emotino, more depth, more humor, then skip this one, rent the older version. At least they knew they were making something light-weight.