Released in the summer of 1990, the tour-de-force that was Total Recall still belongs to the 1980s, a golden decade for a certain brand of winking science fiction. From Arnold Schwarzenegger's ridiculous line readings to the spectacularly over-the-top effects set pieces -- remember the "Two Weeks" lady, or vestigial prophet Kuato? -- the movie was a camp sci-fi lover's delight, and has rightly been elevated to classic status. Remaking it with Colin Farrell in the title role, as Sony Pictures has done, therefore seems akin to a form of cinematic heresy; yet in the right hands, who knows, it could easily have produced something worth checking out.
Based on the newly released trailer, I'm not entirely sure if Len Wiseman, the director best associated with two Underworld films and being married to Kate Beckinsale (who plays the Sharon Stone role in the remake), is the right hands. The mood is somber, the Transformers-esque CGI synthetic, the fight sequence lackadaisical, and the fun, well, gone. In '80s sci-fi terms, this is looking more Blade Runner than Robocop -- not entirely inappropriate, considering Philip K. Dick wrote the source material for both Blade Runner and Total Recall. But what's on display comes nowhere close to either. Then again, this is an August release; by then, we'll either be too hot to notice its shortcomings, or too grateful of the air conditioning to care.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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