The original movie is somewhat of a classic but it could have been better or followed the source material(book by Philip K. Dick)better. So a remake was made and possibly could blend the book and movie together. The plot is set far into the future where chemical warfare has destroyed most of the planet. Only places to survive was most of Europe and Australia which is called “The colony”. Pretty simple the rich live in this new Europe while the poor live in the colony. We follow Doug Quaid(Colin Farrell) who works in a factory building police robots. He feels like his life should have more to it. Even though he comes home to his beautiful wife Lori(Kate Beckinsale) every night, dreams of him being a super secret agent has him stirring. He is talked into going to place called “ReKall” where they give you new memories. So you can live your life as a rich super star or secret agent to anything else you can imagine. Quaid is in the seat only a second before his life changes. In a flash he is being hunted by the President Cohaagen’s(Bryan Cranston) forces and then also finds his beautiful wife is a sleeper agent. Quaid must put together an evil plot and stop it while also trying to figure out that this new secret agent life of his is real… Or ReKall.
The problem this remake has first off is how close it is to the original. The one strong change is eliminating Mars, the entire film is set on Earth and the change works. The future world they create is a lot of fun to look at. You can see inspiration from Blade Runner and other films but the atmosphere is fantastic. Even though the film is beautiful to look at it, the energy is off balance. The original knew what it was and had some fun with it, sure it did get super violent at times but still the movie was funny and played with the concept that Quaid was living in a fantasy world. This film plays it really straight. Almost as if the idea he is in Rekall is just a minor element, that is the problem it should be the only element.
The acting here is strong though, Colin Farrell who fell off the map recently really brings it here. He feels like an action super star. The quiet moments he gets here are strong as well as he really does seem like a man lost in his own head. Beckinsale has the most fun though, she eats up her lines and really enjoys being a bad ass chick. Jessica Biel shows up about half way through as a good guy agent trying to help Quaid, problem is her limited screen time gives her less to do so she really has no impact. Cranston gets to play the villain and does a fine job. Bill Nighy shows up for a scene or two as well, but is kind of wasted. The leads are really strong though so no blame should be placed on their shoulders for the movies weird vibe.
This remake just didn’t seem to understand what it was, it bounces around with themes, tries to play it like just a straight up action film which was frankly just the wrong approach. I would still suggest seeing it on the big screen because of the action scenes. The action scenes are fun, even though there is not a lot of weight to them, by that I mean characters die off at a huge rate and no one seems to really care. The film though is filled with robot police that jump around and are visually stunning to watch. One action scene involving magnetic cars flying around over the city is a lot of fun.
It’s a shame the movie isn’t a home run because they get a lot right. It’s just the approach they took is really wrong. The movie never really seemed to pick if it was serious, having fun, or just being a straight up action movie with robot police officers. Colin Farrell and some other cast members give it their all but it’s not enough. See it for the action scenes and maybe even do a double feature with the original. Both films actually fail to really nail the point across that all of what we have seen could not be real. Instead both somehow feel like 80’s action films… That’s fine for the original since it was that, the remake though has no excuse.