Total Recall, 2012.
Directed by Len Wiseman.
Starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bookee Woodbine, Bill Nighy and John Cho.
A factory worker haunted by a recurring dream and bored with the routine nature of his existence seeks fake memory implants only to have them unlock recollections of another life.
In many ways, the original 1990 film with Arnold Schwarzenegger (Commando) reflects the hulking and deadpan persona of its leading man while the latest version is as brooding and fleet-footed as Colin Farrell (Miami Vice). Personally I was happy to see the campiness replaced with a more serious tone; however, some quick wit would have added much needed brevity to the affair.
Whereas co-screenwriter Kurt Wimmer was able to produce an intriguing spin on Fahrenheit 451 (1966) with Equilibrium (2002), he adopts a formulaic approach with his retelling of We Can Remember It for You Wholesale by science fiction paranoia specialist Philip K. Dick. A common problem with the action genre is that with all the chasing going on there is so little time to get to know the characters in order to care about them. When the moment arrives where Colin Farrell must decide between reclaiming his old life or embracing his current one, it lacks the emotional wallop that the scene deserves.
The setting shift from Mars to Earth is not distracting as distinct worlds are created between the rich motherland located in Britain and the poor colony situated in Australia. Holograms, which are a staple of any futuristic vision, are integrated effectively, with glass serving as a key conduit. The technological show-stopper is the missile which upon impact releases hundreds of miniature cameras like shrapnel. The black and white coloured robotic police force known as Synths hark back to the Stormtroopers from Star Wars (1977) and the highway pursuit with the magnet vehicles is overshadowed by another film which also cast Farrell, Minority Report (2002).
The knockout beauty and athletic combination of Kate Beckinsale (Underworld) and Jessica Biel (The Illusionist) are underused as they are handcuffed by the pursuer and love-interest roles assigned to them. As a villain Bryan Cranston (Drive) offers a cigar-chomping type of performance which lacks the vicious bite of his Breaking Bad television persona. Truth be known, the story has been crippled by the mass box office appeal required for a blockbuster budget; whereas, if it was a third the size with an R rated sensibility I sense Total Recall would have been memorable.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★