Movie Review: Total Recall

With movies like The Bourne Legacy and The Expendables 2 releasing, August is ripe with glossy flicks to entice the action lover in your home. For Total Recall to get its piece of the testosterone-stuffed pie, producers hope three things work in their favor: Colin Farrell, nostalgia and cool special effects. Seeing as how Farrell’s one of Hollywood’s most overrated names (the last three movies he’s headlined, Fright Night, Pride & Glory and In Bruges, grossed a combined $41.8 million), we’ll just cross that first one out now. As for nostalgia, this reboot to the ’90 cult sci-fi fave starring Arnold Schwarzenegger has many of the original’s beloved elements: unbelievable cars, three-breasted chicks and a central story about a possible spy (Farrell) who can’t differentiate dreams from memories after visiting a mind-manipulating bar. The new Recall does stray from the first version by skipping the trip to Mars. It stays on an Earth divided into two sections: the flourishing United Federation of Britain and the crumbling Colony. But don’t worry about the original’s campiness being swapped for deep social messaging this time. Director Len Wiseman (Live Free or Die Hard) only hints at anything of heft; instead, he tries to captivate with busy fight sequences. He’ll accomplish his goal on two occasions –There’s a rapid-fire chase scene with some sliding elevators and a rather unique shootout at zero gravity- but mostly, there’s just a lot of clunky dialogue and running around on The Matrix Reloaded backlot. Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel, who literally fight for Farrell’s attention a third of the movie, are easy on the eye, but, ultimately, they’re unable to make Total Recall producers’ dreams of a fantasy winner much of a reality either. (C)

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