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There is something about movies that are remade that makes them inevitably suck because, even when the main characters take a different turn than the originals, you still know where they’re going even if you don’t quite know how they’ll get there. This aspect of a remake completely takes away anything thrilling from the original plot, an aspect epitomized in Len Wiseman’s remake of “Total Recall.”
But, let’s be serious: before I get to this inevitable shit-show about why this plot was so noticeably bland, let me just say that as a secret agent, Colin Farrell works a lot better than Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m sorry, I can dig the cheesy punch-lines from the Governator, and the muscles add to the tolerable cheesiness of the original as well, but Farrell is just obviously much more talented than Arnold. There are just no ifs, ands, or buts about it. He looks, speaks, and feels much more like an agent both intellectually and physically capable of doing that type of job.
In “Total Recall,” we’re taken to a point in the future when there is only one legitimate area of the world left in the United Federation of Britain (western Europe); the only other habitable area lies in the rundown section called “The Colony” (Australia). The setting in the heart of the UFB looks like a metropolis stolen directly from one of George Lucas’ “Star Wars” prequels crossed with a hint of Christopher Nolan’s “Inception,” as everything lies on top of each other.
The graphics are better; the actresses are hotter (Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel are hot – sorry, Sharon Stone); the actors are even better than the 1990 version. But in the end, Wiseman and Co. just can’t pull it together and make a quality film. Everything about it is stolen from other successful Hollywood narratives. Whether it is from the original “Total Recall,” the aforementioned “Star Wars” prequels, and even “Robocop,” there is little originality within the plot structure or even the graphics for that matter.
Wiseman (former director of “Underworld” and “Live Free Or Die Hard” who is not a wise man) clearly just thought that by changing the geography of the movie from part Mars, part Earth to all Earth he could make anyone watching it completely forget that there was cornball action flick released just over 20 years earlier of the same name and many of the same features. He even had to put the three-breasted seductress right in front of the camera within the first 20 minutes just to tease anyone who’d seen the original and zombify anyone who’d never seen a woman with three breasts.
While I was sitting in the theater watching this, I just couldn’t wait to get out of there because I knew how it was going to end, and it inevitably ended exactly how I thought it was going to. Maybe I can predict the future; don’t they say if you look at the past, you’ll see the future? That was my trick: I watched the original “Total Recall” and saw how the 2012 “Total Recall” would play out.
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