By CJ Powers -
Total Recall has a great action cast headed up with Colin Farrell (The Recruit, S.W.A.T., Miami Vice), Kate Beckinsale (Underworld, Pearl Harbor), and Jessica Biel (Blade, Stealth, The A-Team). The film is a remake of the successful Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi story about a man who goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars and unexpectedly finds himself in a harrowing series of events that force him to go to the planet for real, or does he?
This reboot has some aspects of the same story salted throughout the film, but it is a more contemporary version and redesigned as a thriller with lots of robot police chasing after our hero. The world is made up of great CGI constructs including “elevators” that go up, down, and sideways, which made for a great action chase sequence.
Director Len Wiseman did a great job capturing the essence of this mind-bender and created some great sci-fi chase sequences, making the film a unique stand-alone piece. Wiseman is known for his creativity in writing the six Underworld films, which gave Beckinsale a great sci-fi franchise to helm and fueled his own directing of this futuristic thriller with great heart pounding action.
Biel found the perfect balance between a demonstrable romantic interest and explosive action with her character. She was believable even in the most unbelievable situations. Her athletic drive in running away from police robots ordered to kill them was just as realistic as her gentle moment shedding a single tear.
Farrell dominated the screen with his local boy charm turning into a dynamic hero and overcoming his near death to save the colony from destruction. Even his subtle facial gestures gave rise to great subtext that drove the emotions of the film during the short quiet moments.
In my mind, Total Recall is a successful film in its own right. While it might disappoint some hardcore film purists with only a few nods to its original, the story will captivate the average goer. Being released in the shadow of Batman is its only drawback for those desiring a roller coaster ride of thrilling adventure. And, with its high-speed action sequences, waiting for it to come out on video will be a disappoint for most, as it was truly designed for the big screen.