Stars Colin Farrell playing the role that Arnold Schwazenegger plays in the 1990 Total Recall. Set at the end of the 21st century in a world run by Britain with Australia as a colony (?!?). Access to these countries is through the Earth’s core. Farrell plays a techno assembly worker who is married to Kate Beckinsdale and he has a daily routine. He goes to a mind scan and finds out that he was a rebel leader by the name of Hauser who has been kidnapped into being an agent for the repressive government of Britain. Beckinsdale is a government agent in on the deception. Farrell joins the rebels courtesy of Jessica Biel. Beckinsdale’s government plan an invasion , can Colin save the world?
The original film was set on Earth and Mars and at the time its special effects were amazing. Schwarzenegger acted woodenly but was an effective action man, Colin Farrell is a more sympathetic hero but his pained expression hasn’t changed much from when he was stuck in that telephone booth several years ago. The original of the Kate Beckinsale character was Sharon Stone and the sight of her and Schwarzenegger fighting was like a superduper cage fight, by contrast Beckinsale and Farrell look like dysfunctional reality TV spoilt brats. Is Farrell a double agent? This film imagines London as floating high rise apartments like the rocks in Avatar, and the street scenes are stolen from Blade Runner. It’s always gloomy and raining and people are walking about under painted parasols. There are hi-tech advertizings and it looks like a Bombay slum stripped from its moorings. The action is far too frenetic, masses of aerocars zipping at dizzying speeds like in I Robot or Star Wars. Given that the film has a 20 year advantage over the original, it disappoints as sci-fi.
Issues of personal identity and personal integrity in a hi-tech world are simplified to role reversals in a Dan Dare world of bewildering density. At any moment you know it’s all fairground mirror tricks, so the film avoids anything worth saying. It gets into some cod philosophy about the nature of memory, only to dismiss it as a disposable item, so it undermines the need for a serious look at the continuation of personal identity and responsibility. A missed opportunity.