Holy lens flares, Len Wiseman!
Today's review comes from the category of needless remake. If you have seen the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger/Paul Verhoeven classic, you've already seen this film. Congratulations! And if you haven't seen that film, then why even consider watching this one when you have a perfectly good adaptation of Phillip K. Dick's story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale already available on DVD?
Whatever, let's get on with this review.
In the late 21st century, space on the planet Earth is limited. The remaining habitable space has been sectioned off into two areas: The United Federation of Britain and The Colony, which occupies Australia. Travel between the two areas comprise of an elevator known as "The Fall". An underground resistance vows to fight against the UFB's Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) for improved living.
Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a factory worker who keeps having dreams involving a woman named Melina (Jessica Biel). His wife, Lori, (Kate Beckinsale) tries to reassure him that all is well along with his best friend and co-worker, Harry, (Bokeem Woodbine).
Quaid visits a company called Rekall and wants to be implanted with the memories of a secret agent. During the implantation process, a SWAT team disrupts the party and wants Quaid. Instead, Quaid guns all parties down, and should have thanked the SWAT guys for not firing at him while he was going hand-to-hand with other SWAT members.
Once on the run, Quaid discovers that Lori is not his wife, but an agent working for the UFB. Also, Quaid learns from self-left video messages, that his true identity is Carl (not Cole) Hauser, who at one time worked for Cohaagen, but instead decided to work with the underground resistance and its leader: Matthias, (a criminally underused Bill Nighy).
What follows are a bunch of boring action scenes with forced dialogue that the better-than-it-should-be cast has to spout. As stated, Bill Nighy makes what should be considered a brief cameo as the resistance leader, Matthias. Beyond him, Bryan Cranston has the thankless job of the main bad guy who really just makes speeches and is never threatening or villainous; especially in the final battle. The only actor who seems to be having any fun is Kate Beckinsale as the Terminator-like Lori. Her presence during her constant pursuit and ruthless assault on Melina and Quaid serves as the most entertaining portion of this film. As that is the most entertaining part, though, should show that this film doesn't offer much that hasn't already been done before.
With the exception of the location of this version (future-Earth) and the 1990 version (Mars) this really plays out as a step-by-step imitation of the original. Unfortunately, this film rushes through its sequences, so you do not even get to enjoy what changes they have made. From the disguise at a transfer area, to someone trying to "wake" Quaid up, all versions have been done much better in the Paul Verhoeven version. Len Wiseman continues to prove that he is a director who cannot provide substance and lacks what is needed to create an involving story.
I had very low expectations for this film, and Len Wiseman kindly met those expectations. The 2012 version of Total Recall is bland, boring, predictable and made me very sleepy.
You're welcome, Karina.