Total Recall looks very, very good. It’s a remake of the classic 1990 Schwarzenegger film, itself based on the Philip K. Dick short story ‘We Can Remember It for You Wholesale’. The previous two incarnations of the tale all featured Mars – here it’s set in a dystopian future Earth where only the United Federation of Great Britain and the more impoverished ‘colony’ of Australia survive after global chemical warfare. Not too sure why they thought it would be a good idea to reduce Australia to colonial status once again, but the British element does give director Les Wiseman (‘Underworld’ 03) good basis to cast not only his wife, Kate Beckinsale, but also Irishman Colin Farell (Bill Nighy also appears, with what I think is supposed to be an American accent..). Graphically the settings are detailed and convincing, the only problem is there’s not much more to the entire film.
As it gathers pace, ‘Total Recall’ descends into an endless series of chase sequences and set piece gun battles, which are well constructed but nevertheless become tedious. Kate Beckinsale’s ‘Underworld’ training is put to good use and it is fun watching her whirl around like a peeved dervish of destruction, admittedly with trademark skin tight clothes on, but the story really needed a lot more depth put into it. Jessica Biel also has a sizeable role to play, but her character is fairly pointless and only really exists as an accessory to the inevitable conclusion.
It’s been a long time since The Red Dragon watched the original, but I think it’s fair to say it had more going on than here, though pleasingly they have stuck with some of the famous lines (sadly not the one from Sharon Stone and the retort) and also the three breasted girl element. If you like films with lots of mindless shooting and an attempt at a believable plot then there’s no reason you won’t like this.