Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's your memory, so chase me maybe. I couldn't help it! It just fits too perfectly!
If Olympic medals were awarded to movie characters then Colin Farrell’s interpretation of Douglas Quaid would surely be in for at least silver in long distance running. I would venture to say that nearly half of the two hour remake of the Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 cult classic Total Recall is spent in chase scenes. Said chase scenes are very fun to watch, but do get tiring after a time.
I started out having a great deal of fun with this flick. The first half of the movie does a really good job at building a convincing world and providing some fantastic interpretations of futuristic technology. I won't spoil exactly what it is, but you'll know what I'm referencing if you've seen it. I want one of those handy communication devices! Right? Sure it might be intrusive not being able to escape from it, but talk about condensing devices.
A very easy comparison to make is that the first half of the movie is basically The Bourne Identity set in the future. Bourne Identity did it way better, but that mystery vibe of why are we chasing this guy, why doesn't he remember, and the really cool juxtaposition of a dude what can kick your ass even though he doesn't know his own name is pretty rad. I would have been very content to continue watching The Quaid Identity and watching Kate Beckinsale chase Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel for the remainder of the movie. There is a palpable chemistry between the leads that offers some tense moments, and quite frankly it’s rare that we see good chase scenes with such gorgeous participants. Kate Beckinsle makes a better female Terminator than Kristanna Loken did in T3: Rise of the Machines.
Unfortunately, the film does eventually move on and when it does it develops two major problems. First, all of the credit it had built from its wonderful application of future technology comes crashing down with its very poor implementation, or lack of explanation, of physics. I was buying it, and they pushed it too far. Secondly, the writing takes a turn that is far too big and self-important. What starts out as an entertaining, just-for-fun popcorn flick all of a sudden turns serious and has to save the world. That large scale turn of events is rarely handled well and distanced me from the fun I was having.
I'm a big Arnold fan, but the original Total Recall just isn't all that important to me. This remake definitely isn’t a total loss. There is some fun to be had; however, just like the memory of a dream, it tends to fade fairly quickly.
Does anyone recall the original more fondly than I do? What about this new version?