Well, that was unnecessary.
If you were considering watching Len Wiseman's TOTAL RECALL remake in the off chance it had something new to say or at least offered a different take on Phillip K. Dick's short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale"óbad news, it doesn't.
This is your standard brainless PG-13 summer blockbuster, taking all the campy yet legitimate fun of the original and replacing it with more random gunfire and explosions. Some of the action is entertaining but never exciting; just your typical Len Wiseman movie. You can tell by the scene where the future cops bust in on Quaid at Rekall and the camera zooms around the room like a fly's POV, adding nothing to the scene except a sense of slight nausea. Yep, that's Wiseman.
TOTAL RECALL 2013 at least looks nice on the outside, with great production design and visual effects, but the script is a big box of dumb. My favorite example is the hilarious case of Random Plot Exposition where Colin Farrell has a conversation with a hologram version of himself to figure out what's going on. And any of the original's playful notions as to what's a dream vs. reality are thrown out the window fairly early on because the remake doesn't have time to operate on multiple levels. Everything not completely scraped from the bones of the 1990 version feels like it's been lifted from other films, especially the futuristic world. Even the things that are different, like subbing out Mars for a post-apocalyptic new world order, pale in comparison to Verhoeven's film.
What's saddest is the waste of talent involved here. Colin Ferrell is great when he's in to the role (see 7 PSYCHOPATHS) and he's fine running around and shooting things as Douglas Quaid but he's clearly not engaged. Kate Beckinsale is an effective action robot, but she has more chemistry with Farrell than his actual love interest Jessica Biel. And don't get me started on the fantastic Bryan Cranston, who doesn't show up until an hour and half in and is just there to yell in a couple scenes. Such a waste.
The Blu-Ray includes both the Theatrical and Extended Director's Cut of the film (plus a UV Digital Copy). The extended version is 12 minutes longer and fleshes out more of the subplots and backstory for Quaid's former life, but it still doesn't ultimately improve upon the film's flaws. The only interesting part is the appearance of Ethan Hawke as Farrell's former self.
Commentary by Len Wiseman: The director shares his thoughts on the extended vs. theatrical cut and what he originally intended for the film to be. I'll admit he talks a good game and the movie sounds better when coming from his mouth. It just doesnít work the same on the screen.
Insight Mode: Watch behind-the-scenes video and pop-up trivia while watching the film. It might make the movie more entertaining.
Total Action: This in-depth seven-part feature covers a lot, from the individual actors, action scenes, stunts and more.
Science Fiction vs. Science Fact (9:28): A professor of theoretical physics talks about the film's vision of the future and the real possibilities we might be facing. Interesting enough.
Designing The Fall (2:55): A short look at the film's final set piece.
Stepping Into Recall: Some pre-viz animated storyboards for the film's major action moments. Worth skipping.
Gag Reel (8:01): This laugh track is occasionally amusing but waaaaay too long.
The TOTAL RECALL remake is sadly exactly what you expect: a brainless action blockbuster that poorly copies Paul Verhoeven's much, much superior original.
Extra Tidbit: Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender were considered for the role of Quaid. Thank God they didn't waste their time.