BOY CULTURE REVIEW: *** OUT OF ****
Guilty pleasure alert: I loved the original Total Recall (1990) with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and am sick to my stomach to realize it's over 20 years old. I found it hilarious. I'm a sucker for cheesy science fiction for some reason; call me Bruce Genre.
The new Total Recall displays a darkly, breathtakingly beautiful world, one split into only two inhabitable zones and overcrowded to the point of war. Farrell plays a working schlub who dabbles in a controversial gimmick called Total Rekall, only to learn he's a high-value government agent whose memory has been erased and whose entire life is a six-week-old ruse.
The rest of the movie is, as I expected, one seamless piece of relentlessly choreographed action. Laughs are few and far between, and you'll definitely notice the absence of some of the original's campiest lines. Still, it's exciting, entertaining and the cinematography and editing and special effects do not, for once, disappoint.
Farrell only has the one puppy-dog expression, his "wife" Kate Beckinsale overstays her welcome and Jessica Biel spends the entire film looking stressed and muttering "shit!" But it's not about the acting, it's about the concept and the directorial execution, both of which more than make up for a few logical leaps and a rather too subtle ending.