The remake of Total Recall opens today, starring Kate Beckinsale and directed by her husband Len Wiseman (Underworld), and the reviews so far have been pretty mixed. Colin Farrell has the toughest job, though, taking on the role of Douglas Quaid, originally made famous by some guy named Arnold Schwarzenegger.
So how does the new one stack up against the iconic, ultraviolent 1990 sci-fi flick? We think you might be better off staying home and watching the original, and here's why:
1. Mars > Great Britain: After a visit to Rekall for memory implant results in blowing the cover of his "true self," Quaid (originally) had to get his ass to Mars. In the remake, the red planet setting is ditched for...The United Federation of Britain? Apparently, there are only two places in the future both on Earth: the generically named The Colony (where the 99 percent live) and the UFB (the 1 percenters). Gone are the mutants, that red tinty filter, the threat of no oxygen and the trashy fun of director Paul Verhoeven's original.
2. Ridiculous One-Liners: Nothing beats a classic Schwarzenegger one-liner, and Total Recall is loaded with them. Between extractions of electronic bugs from nasal cavities, Arnold disposes of his evil wife (Sharon Stone) by deadpanning, "Consider that a divorce." Perfect. But today, we're treated to endless chatter by Farrell and Bryan Cranston, which, by comparison, is dullsville.
3. Sharon Stone, Pretty Much: To be fair, Beckinsale's take on Doug's wife Lori kicks butt, too (see below) but this was the role that geeks everywhere took notice of Stone. (Verhoeven did too, casting her in Basic Instinct.) She could fight, but it was her sexy/deranged/happy housewife that left a mark.
4. Hard-R vs. PG-13: The original had Arnold using baddies as human shields. Heads exploded. And they didn't call it the red planet for nothing. The new version's action is more like a Call of Duty video game, mostly bloodless since most of what Quaid shoots are mindless robots.
5. Open Your Mind: The crown jewel for adaptations of Philip K. Dick stories is still Blade Runner, but the original Total Recall (based on Dick's short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale") is the most fun. Great mind-frakkin' ideas mixed with deliciously over-the-top excitement, humor, and mutants that grow out of people's torsos. So fun!
Of course, you can probably come up with five reasons Total Recall 2.0 is a necessary upgrade, and you should do just that—in the comments.
But we'll get you started with this one:
1. She Gives Good Wife: Beckinsale's Lori is a much bigger part of the story here, and she rocks. Making Lori not only the killer wife but also Cranston's main enforcer puts Beckinsale in for the film's duration. The scene where Lori squeeze-jumps into an elevator shaft that moves up/down/left/right may be the single best reason to see the film.