Matt Adcock’s film review: Total Recall

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“The past is a construct of the mind. It blinds us. It fools us into believing it. But the heart wants to live in the present…” 

Here’s Hollywood strip-mining another ‘classic’ film, but this time it is at least a new ‘interpretation’ of Philip K Dick’s short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.

The ‘90s version had the winning team of bloodbath specialist director Paul Verhoeven and lumbering action hero specialist Arnie. For 2012, we have Underworld and Die Hard director Len Wiseman and leading man Colin Farrell…

Plotwise, instead of there being a conflict between Martian colonists and Earth’s powerful baddies, Wiseman tries for a fight between the good old United Federation of Britain (UFB) and a sleazy underworld known as the ‘Colony’ – formed by the remains of Australia.

The rest of the world is uninhabitable as a result of global chemical warfare but the two habitable areas are at least connected by a huge travel shaft, known as The Fall, that runs through the core of the planet.

In the way it looks, Total Recall 2012 owes quite a lot to Blade Runner, all rainy high-rise slums connected by floating car superhighways and various walkways.

Farrell plays Doug Quaid, a humble Colony-dwelling assembly-line worker whose dreams see him as a superspy.

Alas, that’s not likely to happen unless he visits Rekall, a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led. The procedure goes haywire, though, and Quaid finds himself on the run, fighting the powers and trying to stop a full-scale invasion of the Colony, using the very robot policemen he’s been making for years in his day job.

Everything in this new Recall has been given a smart lick of quality CGI special effects coating, and the females of the piece come in the shapely forms of Doug’s gorgeous wife (Kate Beckinsale) and sexy resistance fighter Melina (Jessica Biel).

The action rocks along at a good pace and there are several impressive scenes that are worth the price of admission.

Alas the new version feels slightly soulless and machine tooled to be just another summer blockbuster rather than any sort of classic.

For fans of the original there are at least some nice nods and winks which include an update of the three boobied lady and a lovely sequence which apes the Arnie disguised as a woman going through security system only to nicely wrong-foot the viewer.

This is a trip worth taking but it will make you recall how good the original was!