Total Recall

Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale

Directed by Len Wiseman
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 1
Community: star rating
5 1 0
August 2, 2012

This futuristic fiasco, a wretched remake of 1990's Total Recall, can't begin to erase memories of director Paul Verhoeven's kinky, hot-wired original in which Arnold Schwarzenegger memorably shot movie wife Sharon Stone and bitchslapped her with "consider dat a dee-vorce." Since the new Recall is totally witless, don't expect laughs. Originality and coherence are also notably MIA. Colin Farrell steps into the Governator's role as Doug Quaid, a factory worker with a sexy wife (Kate Beckinsale) who can't distract him from daydreaming about a better life than his workday grind building robo-cops. Back in 1990, Doug dreamed of going to Mars. Farrell's Doug is stuck on a dystopian Earth, all but destroyed except for an elite United Federation of Britain, run by the evil Cohaagen (Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston), and The Colony, where poor saps like Doug labor to please the one percent. That's why Doug is tempted to try Rekall, a memory-implant that lets him live a fantasy life in his head. Doug picks secret agent, and finds out — guess what? — that he really is one. This is not a spoiler. The new movie spills the beans at the start, killing all suspense. Director Len Wiseman over-compensates with lots of noise and hectic action. Jessica Biel shows up as a love from Doug's past. Biel and Beckinsale trade punches and kicks that look remarkably unconvincing. Wiseman amps up the soundtrack to fool us. Not working. Beckinsale, married to Wiseman in real life (they've worked together on the Underworld films), says "shit" a lot as Doug evades her grasp by jumping off countless buildings and through endless rofftops. I said "shit" a lot to myself as the movie dragged on interminably, wasting its resonant source material, Philip K. Dick's short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" with its intriguing psychological subtext: the genuine horror in the theft of a mind. This Total Recall will make you feel robbed as well. It's two hours you'll never get back and every minute is a bad memory.

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