Wednesday, May 3, 2017

More Like Total Green Screen, or Thoughts on Colin Farrell’s Total Recall

Based on the Philip K. Dick short story We Can Remember it For You Wholesale (1966, and let’s be honest, Total Recall is a far better name), the 2012 Total Recall remake updates the 1990 original film by throwing out the Mars colony and casting regular sized Colin Farrell as Quaid/Hauser.  The movie references the most memorable scenes of the first film including the fat lady at the security checkpoint and the three breasted hooker; although now she’s no longer a mutant and the new film plays it off as just another body augmentation option.
It’s a noisy, overly stimulated visual cacophony that explores the attractive themes of false memory and secret identities while straying into Matrix/Bourne Identity and most significantly, Blade Runner (1982, another Philip K. Dick story) territory without adding anything new to the genre.  Nor does it have the sense of fun and adventure that Arnold brought to the original movie; he wasn’t the greatest actor, he only had the one accent, but he always looked like he was having a great time.  Colin Farrell is an A-list actor who specializes in being grim, who coincidentally starred in Minority Report (2002), yet another Phillip K. Dick adaptation and also another remake of an 80’s cult movie, Fright Night  (2011) .
With Kate Beckinsale, not a vampire, and married to director Len Wiseman, who takes over the Sharon Stone role (however in this version she’s closer to Michael Ironside) while Jessica Biel is Melina, the resistance fighter/girlfriend.  Whatever happened to Rachel Ticotin, you might ask?  In addition to appearances in Lost and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005), she portrayed Lt. Arleen Gonzalez in Law and Order: LA.
Also with Bryan Cranston as Cohaagen, the evil bad guy.  Coincidentally, Dean Norris, Uncle Hank to you and me, was Tony, a Martian mutant in the 1990 film.

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