Remake? Remodel

Quaid and Melina get into a tight spot.
Quaid and Melina get into a tight spot.

Total Recall (12A)

Director: Len Wiseman.

Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate 
Beckinsale, Jessica Biel and Bryan Cranston.

Running time: 120 mins.

AS A general rule, I have little time for remakes: they show a distinct lack of imagination on the part of scriptwriters devoid of ideas and relying on past glories.

The situation is markedly worse when the original only came out 20 years (or so) ago.

So I wasn’t expecting too much when watching Len Wiseman’s retake on an Arnie favourite.

But this is less a remake and more a re imagining of the Philip K Dick short story about a Johnny Six-Pack who is more than he appears.

Douglas Quaid (Farrell) is unhappy in his job on the assembly line, making robots for the Corporation.

When he is overlooked for promotion, Quaid decides he needs some R&R and heads off to Rekall, where — the boast says — you can have memories implanted to make it feel as if you’ve had a holiday or some dangerous adventure.

Quaid opts for being a secret agent — but he hits a snag.

The one rule is that you can’t ask for something that replicates real life.

During the routine ‘psych test’ the doctor discovers that Quaid is indeed a secret agent and all hell breaks loose.

A troop of agents from the Corporation descend on Rekall and, quite to our hero’s surprise, he expertly dispatches them all.

During the chaos which follows, Quaid discovers his wife (Beckinsale) is a Corporation agent sent to keep an eye on him and that he has had his mind scrambled.

During his relentless pursuit of the truth, Quaid finds Melina (Biel), a member of an undercover group opposing the Corporation.

So far, so similar. But there are key differences from the Arnie flick.

It’s set on earth, not Mars, and the resistance are not fighting for more air, they are fighting for places to live.

It is also an entirely new script to accompany the re imagined storyline.

Many of the street scenes are reminiscent of Blade Runner, another movie of a Philip K Dick story.

The special effects are as impressive as you would expect from this type of movie.

The acting, likewise, is what you would expect: of secondary import when you’re blasting people at a rate of two per second.

Rating: 4/5