Colin Farrell doesn't get his ass to Mars the way Arnold did, but even overly possessive 1990s film geeks might find some good things here....
Sony / 130 Minutes / 2012 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: December 18, 2012
For those of us with distinct familiarity with the 1990 original film, the question of this new-and-improved 2012 rendition of Total Recall is this: can Ah-nold fans see the forest through the trees and actually have a good time here? Speaking meekly as a child of the 80s and 90s, the initial pangs of frustration that come with Hollywood's continuing streak of remake announcements - Red Dawn is currently in theatres (argh!) - seems unnecessary and uninventive: the original movies were good enough, weren't they? Why do we need new versions?
I'll betray my fellow geeks by saying that this mindset doesn't get anybody anywhere - those of us who adored Verhoeven's Recall in 1990 will likely not be able to fall in love with the new Recall in the same way, and Hollywood really doesn't give a rip. It's the new blood they're interested in, and unless viewers currently under the age of 25 had older brothers who forced movies like Total Recall down their throats, Colin Farrell's spacey actioner will be all new to them.
Aside from eschewing any discussion of Mars or action that takes place upon it, the paint-by-numbers scenario in Total Recall are nearly identical to Verhoeven's. A normal dude (Farrell) has bad dreams, so he goes to Rekall, a place where he can get more exciting super secret agent memories implanted in his brain, only to find out during the procedure that he actually is a super secret agent who has been artificially brainwashed back into the status quo. He finds a hot rebel chick (Jessica Biel), locks and loads against a leering baddie (Bryan Cranston), and goes on an adventure.
Again, spoken with the fervent passion of a movie dweeb's one-track mind, it's not the same: it's capable as a thriller but disposable in ways the 1990 version never was. But it could be worse - at least we get an homage to the triple-titty mutant lady from the original. Thank goodness some things are sacred.