Total Recall

Rated PG-13 121 min. 2012

Total Recall (PG-13) Len Wiseman's very busy, very noisy, very lens-flare-riddled remake of Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall benefits from Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel, and ... well, that's about it. Of course, being a better actor than Arnold Schwarzenegger is not a big accomplishment. Kate Beckinsale isn't up to the level of Sharon Stone, but she has the distinct advantage of being the director's wife. The film itself is at best perfunctory, at worst kind of stupid, and in either case unnecessary. I'm not cheesed that Wiseman and company have defamed the original. It's not like the 1990 film is all that hot, but it did have the courage of its splattery hard R convictions. The PG-13-ification of it has neither courage, nor convictions, just CGI and lens flare. Hell, it even has (really obvious) CGI lens flare — take that J.J. Abrams. The whole thing hinges on factory-worker schlub Douglas Quaid (Farrell) finding out he's really the secret agent of his dreams (literally), an agent for the corrupt government who has changed sides to work for the opposition. What's all this about? Well, the only habitable spaces on earth are the British Isles and Australia (and, no, I don't know why everybody except Kate Beckinsale speaks with an American accent). The ruling classes live in the British Isles, while the lower classes live in an Australia straight out of Blade Runner. The two are connected by a kind of giant elevator that travels at a most unlikely speed straight through the earth. The ruling class — headed up by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) — are running out of space and plotting to wipe out the folks in Australia. (Who's going to do the labor afterwards is not addressed.) The opposition, headed up by the shadowy Matthias (Bill Nighy), are out to stop him and overthrow the government. Insert lots of scenes of Beckinsale trying to kill Farrell and that's pretty much it. Why bother? —Ken Hanke

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Len Wiseman

Writer: Philip K. Dick

Producer: Neal H. Moritz and Len Wiseman

Cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy

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