Total Recall

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total recall

Was this remake really necessary?

The top questions my friends at racquetball asked me about the reboot.

n      Did they have a prostitute with three breasts? Yes.

n      Did they have an awesome chick fight, the way Sharon Stone and that other woman did in the first? Yep. And the fight scenes are as good as the ones in the overrated Haywire.

n      Did Arnold Schwarzenegger have a cameo? No.

Screenwriter Kurt Wimmer, not to be confused with an NFL quarterback, has had some experience writing reboots. He did The Thomas Crown Affair and a few years ago, Salt. Okay, that isn’t a remake, but it was so derivative it felt like one.

Perhaps he could’ve made this film a bit less repetitive (how many shoot-outs and elevator jumping scenes do we need?). He could’ve added more humor and soul to the production, but overall…this take on the Philip K. Dick short story works.

They borrow from Dick’s Blade Runner, with the dazzling set designs and cityscapes. There were some robot soldiers that remind you of storm troopers from Star Wars. They borrowed the cars and freeways from Minority Report (which also starred Colin Farrell).

Farrell is certainly a better actor than Schwarzenegger (rent In Bruges or Cassandra’s Dream for proof of that). Yet, I found Schwarzenegger pulled off the confused, angry dude a lot better. That is really needed for this character.

The story is slightly different. Instead of manual labor on Mars, we have two segments of society living on Earth. It’s the second movie I’ve seen recently with the economic comparisons that will make you think of the 99 and 1 percenters.

Chemical warfare has caused the population to live in a few different cities; one being the Blade Runneresque town, but more lively and less post-apocalyptic.

Colin Farrell is bored at his factory job assembling robots, and goes to a company that implants false memories of a more exciting life. As John Cho (without Kumar) explains “You can’t already have a mistress, if you want the memory of a mistress. Those types of things can mess with your mind and cause problems.”

When Farrell decides to have the memory of a James Bond type secret agent, things go wrong. Cho claims he already is one. That’s when the shooting ensues!

I have two pet peeves that popped up. One of them is watching the talented Bryan Cranston play yet another untrustworthy politician (is that redundant?). The other pet peeve is the roof top chases, where nobody breaks a leg or sprains an ankle. Even when these chases extend into elevator shafts that have them jumping 20 feet.

The cast was fun to look at. Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel are beautiful. Bokeem Woodbine has a Jimmy Walker vibe that is fun, but not as much fun as the character in the original.

Bill Nighy has such a small part, it’s hardly worth mentioning.

There are a few moments that are nods to the original. One of them in an airport is outstanding.

The main problem this film has is that it just wasn’t necessary. We remember, and enjoy, the original. And knowing what happens in the original takes the fun away of guessing if this guy really is a super secret agent or the Rekall company just made some big mistakes when they hooked him up. And it’s not even the original that ruins this. Since the 22 years have passed when we had that film, we have been given movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Memento, Vanilla Sky, and most recently, Inception. Since those movies cover similar concepts, it’s not as interesting to watch this time around.

That being said, it’s a fun summer flick that most people will enjoy; even despite some flawed logic.

I’m giving it 2 ½ stars out of 5.

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