I’ve seen the fu­ture and it is dull

To­tal Re­call

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

De­spite all its con­vo­lu­tion, bad hair and, well, Sch­warzeneg­ger- ness, Paul Ver­ho­even’s To­tal Re­call re­mains an en­dear­ing slice of big bud­get sci­ence-fic­tion 22 years on.

For many movie-go­ers of my gen­er­a­tion who had been too young to re­ally ‘‘get’’ Blade Run­ner, To­tal Re­call was an in­tro­duc­tion to the no­tion of un­re­li­able per­spec­tives. We didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t – we couldn’t trust what we were see­ing.

For a 14-year-old reared on the imag­i­na­tive, though nar­ra­tively straight­for­ward pic­tures of Lu­cas, Spiel­berg and Don­ner, it was quite a nov­elty.

The idea that world- sav­ing su­per spy Doug Quaid – and the au­di­ence – couldn’t be sure if he was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing re­al­ity or a fab­ri­cated mem­ory was as mind­blow­ing as the three- breasted hooker on Mars. It was also half the fun of the movie – and I don’t

To­tal Re­call. think Len Wise­man gets that.

The di­rec­tor has crafted a re­make/ re­boot/ re­dun­dancy that isn’t much fun at all.

In fact, it’s bloody dull.

Due to chem­i­cal war­fare, in the year 2100, only two con­ti­nents re­main in­hab­it­able: The Fed­er­a­tion of Great Bri­tain and The Colony, in other words Aus­tralia.

The for­mer is a pros­per­ous, in­dus­trial mega-city; the lat­ter is a grim, over­crowded labyrinth of fu­tur­is­tic fave­las.

A gi­ant el­e­va­tor runs through the cen­tre of the planet, trans­port­ing peo­ple from The Colony to their blue-col­lar jobs in Bri­tain.

By day Dou­glas Quaid (Colin Far­rell) works in a fac­tory, but at night he dreams of ad­ven­ture, fight­ing the op­pres­sive Fed­er­a­tion. When he vis­its Rekall, a busi­ness which im­plants false re­al­i­ties in the minds of av­er­age joes thirsting for a bet­ter life, all hell breaks loose.

It turns out Quaid may have al­ready been un­der the influence of Rekall – a top spy cap­tured and hid­den from his com­rades in a new iden­tity.

I’d like to say this is where the line be­tween re­al­ity and Rekall be­comes blurred, but it re­ally doesn’t. The sec­ond that Wise­man de­cides to show events from the per­spec­tive of Quaid’s ‘‘wife’’ Lori (Kate Beck­in­sale), any sense of am­bi­gu­ity is swiftly drained from the pic­ture.

So what does that leave us with? A dystopian ac­tion flick that bares closer re­sem­blance to the pre­vi­ous out­put – mean­ing crap – of Wise­man ( Un­der­world se­ries) and screen­writer Kurt Wim­mer ( Ul­tra­vi­o­let), than the twisted, thought­ful vi­sions in Philip K Dick’s We Can Re­mem­ber It For You Whole­sale which they were charged with adapt­ing.

Far­rell’s Every­man hero owes plenty – in­clud­ing his dirty white T- shirt – to Bruce Wil­lis, but there’s very lit­tle for him to do be­yond try­ing to look cool while dis­charg­ing weapons.

Beck­in­sale, Wise­man’s wife, gets an in­sane amount of screen­time for an ac­tor only ca­pa­ble of two fa­cial ex­pres­sions – open­mouthed con­tempt and beadyeyed con­tempt.

I guess she looks OK in tight pants though.

Jes­sica Biel, like­wise, lacks any inkling of charisma, while Bryan Cranston at least has fun ham­ming it up as das­tardly High Chan­cel­lor Co­haa­gen.

Here’s hop­ing the re­make of Ver­ho­even’s other ac­tion be­he­moth, Robo­cop, fares bet­ter.

Star­ring Colin Far­rell, Kate Beck­in­sale, Jes­sica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bo­keem Wood­bine, Bill Nighy. Screen­play by Kurt Wim­mer and Mark Bom­back, di­rected by Len Wise­man. 118 min­utes, Rated M (vi­o­lence, offensive lan­guage, nu­dity), show­ing at Read­ing Cine­mas Porirua. Head case: Colin Far­rell goes look­ing for a bet­ter re­al­ity, or per­haps just a bet­ter movie, in the lack­lus­tre new ver­sion of

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