Total Recall Was Remade And All I Got Were Three Boobed Ladies And White Guys Feeling Oppressed
Good news: The action sequences are consistently good and the production design does a really good job of ripping off Minority Report and Blade Runner in equal proportion (literally, people get on a big train and travel from Minorityreportland to Bladerunnerland like they’re at Disneyworld). Bryan Cranston gets paid, as does John Cho. Colin Farrell starts the movie shirtless and puts off that clothing process for as long as possible, ladies. And Kate Beckinsale makes a surprisingly good heavy, ordering killer robots around and repeatedly running up walls to suplex heroes, you know how it is. Wiseman really photographed it so you can believe she’s actually handing Colin Farrell his ass; who would’ve guessed an Irishman would be so bad at beating his wife? By the end, I thought “man, someone needs to give Beckinsale a movie where she can run around beating folks up, maybe even a whole series.” Then I remembered. Oh yeah. Underworld.
The bad news: This is literally the exact same movie as the original Total Recall, just less fun, less interesting, and with lamer twists that make less sense. You know how they used to base TV shows on movies, and for the pilot episode they’d just redo the movie, just on a budget and in half the time and without a real ending? This is like that, only somehow it got a special effects budget that could feed a small country. I sense a scandal. Let’s keep an eye out for a small country going hungry.
The premise goes like this. In the future, chemical weapons have rendered all of Earth uninhabitable except for Europe and Australia. That’s right—all the brown people were literally wiped out in this movie. We let the Aborigines off with a warning.
I kid, there are some background players who are black, we’ll get to that.
Somehow, these chemical weapons have also made air and space travel impossible, despite the fact that we see people walking through contaminated areas in nothing more than gas masks and… flying planes through contaminated areas. Still, the only way from Europe to Oz is the Fall, a giant transportation system that goes through the planet’s core. Lucky thing that it’s Europe and Australia that were spared and not Europe and Taiwan. You might have to hang a left at the mantle.
I don’t know how they built this thing without air or space travel. Maybe Europe just kept digging until they reached Australia, got out, and said “Alright, we’ll be oppressing you from now on. We’re British, it’s our thing.”
And now Britain is oppressing Australia, which they even renamed the Colony, because they’re dicks and it’s the future. So now Colonists have to commute through the Earth’s core to Britain, where they make the stormtrooper-looking robots that are used to oppress Australia. I’m not sure why they couldn’t just make robots in Australia and then ship them to Britain, but then, if I built a subway train through a planet, I guess I’d want to use it too.
Quaid is a lowly stormtrooper assembly line worker, since in the future we still have to put together robots by hand (perhaps this explains how Walter White’s unstoppable army is comprised of robots that Colin Farrell can destroy in five seconds of hand-to-hand combat. I think the watermark for robots should be “Able to kill anyone who starred in that Ben Affleck Daredevil movie”). As a Colonial, he’s discriminated against, marking another in the weirdly-long-list-when-you-stop-to-think-about-it of oppressed sci-fi minorities who are actually straight white men. You had, what, Freddy Prinze Jr. in that God-awful Wing Commander movie, mutants in X-Men, Kryptonians in Superman, Mudbloods in Harry Potter… damn, a brother can’t even get cast as a guy getting oppressed these days. What’s next? White basketball players?
One of the criticisms stupid people have about the original Total Recall is that Arnold Schwarzenegger is supposed to be playing an everyman. So this Total Recall is better, because Colin Farrell is more average-looking. Thus it’s more realistic, except for how he’s married to the sexiest woman in the world. Literally. They tallied it up. But I guess it’d be a little too much gritty realism to have her played by Connie Britton.
Speaking of gritty realism, Colin Farrell doesn’t get to do cool Ah-Nuld stuff like say “Welcome to the party!”, but he also doesn’t get to do cool serious business stuff like freak out about how his entire life is a lie and his loving wife is trying to kill him and such. Two minutes after the love of his life attempts hugging him to death, Gladiator-style, he’s making quips about shooting her. But nothing as clever as “Consider that a divorce.” Just stuff about seven year itches. Because apparently we’ll still have that saying in the future. Fuck, it’s the present and I don’t even know what it means. Something about wanting to fuck Marilyn Monroe…?
But Colin Farrell is married to Kate Beckinsale, and apparently quite happily, until Colin Farrell has the world’s most boring mid-life crisis and goes to Rekall, a dangerous, controversial business in the middle of the red-light district (Good news: They actually show the three-breasted hooker’s nipples) that also has sunny, friendly commercials on primetime television. So it’s like a phone sex line advertising in the middle of How I Met Your Mother in the style of a Bing commercial.
Colin Farrell decides to have a spy fantasy, because he really is a spy, although since he’s really a guilt-ridden spy, wouldn’t his fantasy be to be an ordinary man living an innocent life (and looking like Colin Farrell and being married to Kate Beckinsale)? But his spy fantasy conflicts with his suppressed memories of really being a spy, so he regains just enough memory for this movie to be a crappy remake of The Bourne Identity in addition to Total Recall, Blade Runner, Minority Report, and Underworld. He runs home to Kate Beckinsale, who turns out to be another secret agent. She decides to de-escalate the situation by immediately trying to kill Colin Farrell, despite the fact that her orders must’ve been something along the lines of “Don’t kill Colin Farrell no matter what.”
Which brings me to the pertinent issue. I suppose it’s inevitable that a movie in which the director’s wife plays the hero’s wife, who turns out to be a lying, villainous bitch, would be a little interesting, but damned if this doesn’t do its best not to be. Still, I thought the whole issue of Kate Beckinsale pretending to be Colin Farrell’s wife and sleeping with him despite only having just met him would be kind of swept under the rug by a quip like “I give good wife” so we wouldn’t have to think too hard about a woman being ordered to sleep with a man in the middle of a fun sci-fi adventure.
You know, so it’d be sorta the equivalent of when James Bond has to sleep with a hot brunette to get information? But no, they give her a lot of lines about how she really fucking hated sleeping with Colin Farrell. It gets a little weird, honestly. By the end, the entire evil plot has failed and her boss is dead, but she’s still trying to kill him. The only reason I can figure is that she’s pissed at him for all the unintentional marital rape.
Total Remake basically goes on in the same vein as the original, just more boring. The scene where Lori pretended (or did she?) to be Quaid’s loving wife so she could recapture him by tricking him into thinking he was still at Rekall? Now it’s a scene where Quaid is confronted with… a friend from work. Kuato, the endlessly memetic rebel leader that’s really a guy’s belly mutant? Now it’s a bet-losing Bill Nighy, who tells Quaid that his memories don’t make him who he is, his heart does (although actually his memories would’ve made him do exactly what he ends up doing, so…). Ancient alien civilization? Replaced with robots. People killed by construction equipment and having their arms chopped off? Replaced with people dying in explosions and getting shot.
I can’t, for the life of me, figure out who this movie is for. Young people have ready access to the original. They can watch it on their phone! Is there really anyone who would see the original and think it’d be better without all the gratuitous violence and ridiculousness? That’d be like watching Caddyshack and deciding it’d be better without the jokes. All I can think of is that the studio thinks young people will go “I’m not watching the original, it’s old, so it must be boring and in 2D!”
Well, kids, I want you to know. Total Recall is in 2D, just like the works of Picasso. And that three-breasted hooker who shows up as literally the first five pictures when you Google Image Search Total Recall (some people are going to be very disappointed that she’s not the main character)? Total Recall ’90 invented that, and showed it for more than three seconds because of something called the R rating. Ask your parents. I know I can’t expect you younguns to read the book instead of seeing the movie, but for God’s sake, you can see the original instead of paying for the remake.