Total Recall is a fun movie so long as you can ignore that the film makers strip mined the material it’s based on and ignored the rest. Directed by Len Wiseman of Underworld fame and staring his wife Kate Beckinsale, Total Recall decides to do something different and so far is getting maligned for it since fans of the original Arnie movie are expecting going back to Mars, Kauuto and the generators.
Overall, I somewhat happy they don’t do this. Why retread? Why remake one of Paul Verhoven’s classics into something else?
And, most of the time, the movie works.
Starting off with a bang, Collin Farrell and Jessica Biel are on the run from robots and things do not go their way and Collin’s character, Doug Quaid wakes up from a bad dream. His wife, Lori, played by Kate Beckinsale tells him everything will be fine and goes off to work
The universe building begins with the fact the United Kingdom and the Australia are the only two continents left after atomic weapons fall out. The Kingdom, a multi level UK and the Colony, a world that looks Blade Runner, Jr are linked by a giant gravity elevator that runs through the center of the earth.
Now, my limited understanding of gravity elevators made those scenes somewhat plausible since they took the time to show the gravity between switched and at least having seats with restraints.
The ongoing plot between Chancellor Cohaagan played by Brian Cranston to wipe out the resistance run by Matthias played by Bill Nighy is played out mostly over News Feeds as one side blows things up while the other side does the same.
The good Chancellor has problems like over population in the UK and plans to build a synthetic army to take over the Colony, wipe everyone out and just move in. Turns out Doug found out about it, switched sides and stole some intel to kill all the robots.
Yep, I know, I thought the same thing: You mean we’re watching Revenge of the Sith without lill’ orphan Annie whining and those stupid Jedi Counsel dweebs? Awesome!
Ronny Cox mentioned once he started playing bad guys he enjoyed it much more than playing good guys from Total Recall to Robocop, he was a perfect bad guy.
Brian Cranston, does not come off as well as Ronny only because he’s barely in the movie because the chase scenes go on for a long time. A good long time, don’t get me wrong but Lori’s character is more dimensional than Cohaagan is. She is Michael Ironsides’ and Sharon Stone’s character combined and that’s not as bad as it sounds really.
A few reviewers already mentioned this so I’ll just add my “me too” as well, as much as I enjoy seeing Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel wail on each other, the two of them look like sisters.
I liked the fact there was some sort of rift between the UK and the Colony. The more sci-fi novels I read the more the authors use the plot Earthers vs. Belters (see Leviathan Wakes). The addition of the radioactive parts of Earth were probably where the plot faltered a bit since the characters were walking around fully clothed with only breather masks on and no radiation suits. I give them points for at least adding an airlock scene to their universe building.
In the end, a decent movie to watch in the theater if it’s $6 Tuesday.
Next up, Detention:
Since Detention got a limited run, I can’t warn you to stay away from the theaters so I guess I’ll warn you to stay away the DVD rack.
Detention is filled with high schoolers who are speaking like Aaron Sorkin and are too self aware of themselves while they throw up pop culture references in your face.
Oh, and it’s the worst Donnie Darko ripoff, ever.
The movie begins with a student getting murdered by Cinderhellah, a wronged beauty queen (I think) serial killer aping a Saw-like villain. The heroine of our story is Riley Jones played by Shanley Caswell and is the wallflower that only needs to bloom in these types of movies, if this movie had a type. Which it does not.
Mix in those high school coming of age movies with the psycho stalking the school movies with time traveling stuffed bear and Donnie Darko and you get Detention.
There is no need to see this movie.
Last but not least, [REC]3:
The [REC] series is not one I’ve been following as closely as others but the American remake got the point across: building’s inhabitants infected by virus that turns them into zombies.
The “found” footage-type of horror film started with Blair Witch and continues to this day. The good news is the jerky camera is nowhere near as bad as Bourne Identity. Paranormal Activity is now on movie #4 as of this post. And, for the most part [REC]3 stays with that formula until the first third of the movie and once the credits come up we have the nice camera glide we’ve all come to enjoy.
There are several great things about this movie, first, it’s not an American made movie. It’s gory. It’s funny. The bride played by Leticia Dolera with her wide eyes using the chainsaw works, the groom with the sword and knight’s armor works. It went that extra mile and half with putting the bride and groom through hell and in the end it fell just a bit short.
The set up of characters in the beginning goes on for a long bit and many of the characters that do survive with one of the heroes doesn’t once he leaves which just feels little on the nose.
This movie needed about 15 more minutes. A 1hr and 15 minute movie (not counting 5 minutes of credits) is just a wee bit short in my opinion. The supernatural plot line is a bit dues ex but I thought it added an extra dimension to the film since most zombie movies don’t add the religious overtones. And, judging from [REC]2 description it the overtones run throughout.
Judging from the IMDB post, [REC]4 is on the way, hope it’s as enjoyable as its predecessors.