I’ve never been a great fan of Arnie (or of Paul Verhoeven for that matter) so I was kinda indifferent to seeing the remake of their ‘Total Recall’ but Ellie is something of a fan of Colin Farrell (this girl has a worrying taste for rascals) so it was off to the cinema we went, teenage lust trumping old-age indifference.
Not a bad film … but by no means a good one, and what it did do was confirm a worrying trend I’ve noticed in recent Sci-Fi films. Sci-Fi now seems to be a euphemism for ‘shoot-‘em-up’, where plot, dialogue and characterisation are jettisoned in favour of CGI action. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised: with the globalisation of the film business producers are looking for things that will work in a myriad of languages. Action and violence seem to be the lingua franca of world cinema.
And action and violence ‘Total Recall’ has in spades, all Colin Farrell (and after ‘In Bruges’ this man can do no wrong in my eyes, I’ve even forgiven him for ‘Alexander’) is required to do is look permanently bemused, hit people and run around a lot. Now I know he was reprising Arnie’s role but couldn’t the director (Len Wiseman, he of ‘Underworld’ fame) have streeeeetched him just a little. I mean when Colin is on the run from his ‘wife’ Kate Beckinsale (the best thing in the movie) couldn’t he be allowed some surprise when he’s rescued by Jessica Biel (awful throughout). I mean is it too much to ask for a ‘Hello, who are you?’ from the scriptwriters, or even a ‘Do I know you from somewhere?’.
In fact the lack of chemistry/dynamics/rapport between Farrell and Biel was the reason the second half of the film felt so very flat. There was absolutely no connection. Strange.
That’s the word to describe this movie: ‘flat’, as though everyone (with the exception of Beckinsale) was just going through the motions. And a long motion it was: 118 minutes which was at least 38 minutes too long. Shame, because with just a few tweaks it could have been really very good. Maybe the scriptwriters should have paid more attention to the source material: Philip K. Dick would never have allowed something so banal to leave his typewriter.