Directed by Len Wiseman
Written by Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback
Starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel and Bryan Cranston
Opens 29th August (Ireland)
With the announcement that the Schwarzenegger/Verhoeven classic Total Recall was being remade there was of course an outcry of “How dare they? Remakes are horrible and should never happen! No remake has ever been good except for the long list of good remakes that are routinely trotted out as a defence against this reductive and ignorant stance and immediately dismissed as “exceptions that prove the rule”! Which is totally a thing that makes sense as exceptions prove rules! Like how gravity is a rule but there’s always that one guy who can fly! YOU KNOW WHICH GUY I MEAN SHUT UP!” Some of the more exceptionally thick people on the internet will even go so far as to claim a remake/reboot/sequel “raped” their childhood, because the existence of a movie that you don’t want to watch is exactly as bad a forcible sexual assault, you f**king dunce.
Alternatively you also get the people who want to hate something so much that they judge if by criteria it’s not attempting to meet. Is it as silly to judge The Expendables on it’s plotting and themes as it is to judge the latest Woody Allen on it’s action sequences? Of course, but only one of those makes you feel smarter. To test this theory, compare some critics’ reviews of The Expendables with The Raid: Redemption. Big flashy bone-crunching action sequences+ little character or plot= The Expendables= BOO. Big flashy bone-crunching action sequences+ little character or plot+subtitles = The Raid= YAY. “Finally an action movie for smart people! Because you read bits of it!”
Bizarrely, both of these ridiculous standpoints are used to bolster the ego of the person adopting them. That’s right, these clowns actually think that they are smarter because they decide to be first to hate something or judge it by a standard it’s not even attempting to meet!
Which brings us to Len Wiseman’s Total Recall, a big dumb action remake of a big dumb action movie that’s currently being critically lambasted for being big and dumb and full of action.
You know the story because if you’re reading this site you’ve almost certainly seen the original but for those who don’t: Colin Farrell plays Doug Quaid, a blue-collar guy with a boring life who decides to have a little illicit thrill by having memories implanted of being an awesome secret agent who saves the world. It all goes tits-up when it turns out he actually really is a secret agent with false memories of being a blue-collar guy with a boring life. Or is he? Much gunfire and punching ensues. It’s pretty awesome, you guys.
Once the implant goes wrong we’re treated to an onslaught of action that virtually doesn’t stop until the credits roll. We also get a wonderful surprise in the remarkably fun and psychotically villainous turn from the usually so-so Kate Beckinsale, here playing an amalgamation of the Sharon Stone and Michael Ironside characters from the original. At one point Beckinsale punches Farrell in the face with her vagina and if that doesn’t tell you what kind of movie this is then I really don’t think I can help you. Maybe we just shouldn’t be friends.
I don’t wish to get into too much detail as the insanely spoilerish extended trailer currently doing the rounds has taken care of that for me, so I’ll just say this: if you like over-the-top, slam-bang action movies, Total Recall is for you. If you’ve ever referred to yourself as a “cineaste” with a straight face, it probably isn’t.