Title: Total Recall
Director: Len Wiseman
Stars: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston
Douglas Quaid, a factory worker, is unhappy with his life (despite being married to a character played by Kate Beckinsale) and visits Rekall - a company that sells fake, embellished memories of a holiday they would have liked to have taken or a whole life that they wished they had led. Quaid wants to be an undercover operative working for the resistance on Mars, until he finds out that he already is one and has to go on the run to evade capture.
A remake of one of Paul Verhoven's sci-fi masterpieces (along with the brilliant and enduring Starship Troopers, amongst others) was never going to be an easy movie to remake.
Anyone that hasn't seen the original will enjoy a fast paced, exciting all out action thriller. Fans of the original may think that this is overly bombastic, without some of the subtleties of the Schwarzenegger version.
This is a bit of a treat for both men and women in terms of sexy actors on screen. Women will love Colin Farrell whilst men will be very happy with the pairing of Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale both of whom have over their careers so far found themselves in more than their fair share of sci-fi blockbusters.
Ultimately it's not a patch on the original but it's perfectly watchable and has several moments of very good film making. You really can't hope to remake the classics of a genre and expect to out do the original. Even if the remake is in every way superior, fans of the original will still see the original film in a more generous light. Nostalgia is a strong force especially in a cinematic sense.
From a personal point of view Arnold Schwarzenegger will forever remain the very finest action hero there ever was. And this will no doubt be true also for his millions of his fans across the world. Stallone, Willis and Snipes will all have a prominent place (as will newer action heroes) but Schwarzenegger had such a full and high profile portfolio of films - Total Recall, Commando, Predator, Terminator - that he will always reign supreme. In the 80s you could build a film around Schwarzenegger - with his face on screen for the full 90 minutes and you'd have a hit - so long as it was all action with a high body count. Who could you say that of now. Respectfully certainly not of Farrell who clearly needs the feminine support of Beckinsale and Biel - both super stars on their own right. Indeed Total Recall certainly gives the viewer value for money and the budget stretched beyond a trio of A-Listers to impressive set design, plenty of action sequences and pyrotechnics aplenty.
This may not be the Total Recall that you remember, although I'll briefly mention that the plot is basically the same and some scenes and lines of dialogue have been copied wholesale from the original, but we are no longer in the 80s, movies and the movie industry itself, have changed greatly. Whether positively, negatively or a mixture of both in different areas I'll leave to you to decide, but this is a version of Total Recall for now, and whilst the 25 year old original film still stands up to scrutiny today, this is a contemporary take on the Phillip K Dick source material that is no less valid than Verhoven's version.