ACTION; M, 1hr 58min
STARRING: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bill Nighy
These days 1990’s Total Recall looks a tad hokey but the screenplay, adapted from a Philip K. Dick story, still plays games as a brain-teasing blast with Mr Beefcake, Arnold Schwarzenegger, firmly running the outlandish show. In this ho-hum Len Wiseman–directed remake, Farrell trades Ahnuld’s pained bemusement for world-weary discontent as factory worker Douglas Quaid, whose pleasure-seeking head trip goes wrong, wrong, wrong.
He’s a straight-through downer, although who wouldn’t be in such a blighted future, with Earth’s living spaces reduced to the United Federation of Britain and the Colony (formerly known as Australia)? Bored by his job, plagued by nightmares, with a sultry wife (Beckinsale, Wiseman’s actual better half) who doesn’t seem to thrill him, Quaid craves space-age relief. But when he drops into mind-trip vacation fantasy service Rekall, his obliterated history comes to light.
Wiseman tackles the theme of reality as subjective perception with a techno-schmick panache that’s par for the 2012 mass-market course. Still, I had to ask myself how this dismal TR could possibly pack the punch of its chintzily endearing predecessor. Box-office takings will tell, but I’m with Arnie and the gang. They were gleefully out there. This lot is grimly hanging in. **More Reviews