For a reported budget of $200 million, you'd think that if nothing else "Total Recall" would be visually dazzling. Sadly, Len Wiseman's futuristic universe lacks believable depth and texture, and the actors are stuck with a truly uninspired script. A zero-gravity sequence (borrowed from "Inception") is an exception to the otherwise incessant and forgettable action. The actors are not at fault for this noisy mess of a film. (Wiseman, Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel and Bryan Cranston shared footage at Comic-Con.)
Beckinsale's confidence and ability as an action star makes husband-director Wiseman's shortcomings as a director all the more apparent. Beckinsale is second to only Angelina Jolie in the sexily fierce action star category, and without her, Wiseman's "Underworld" series wouldn't be so successful. With "Total Recall," Wiseman leans on both his cast and the branding of Paul Verhoeven's original film to sustain our interest for 118 minutes. This is yet another example of pandering and forgettable summer action confection instead of a fresh take on a compelling concept (from Philip K. Dick).
The other films opening this weekend are listed below, along with a review roundup for "Total Recall," currently at 21% Rotten. "Celeste and Jesse Forever" highlights Rashida Jones' acting and writing talents, while Fernando Meirelles' "360" disappoints and "The Babymakers" exhibits a sad low for Paul Schneider, who was so promising in Jane Campion's "Bright Star."
"360" Magnolia, UK | DIR: Fernando Meirelles CAST: Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Foster | 33% Rotten | Matt Mueller: "Banal, blundering and at times downright ludicrous, 360 is a full-circle misfire that Meirelles' lively images can't salvage."
"Celeste and Jesse Forever" SPC, US | DIR: Lee Toland Krieger CAST: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Ari Graynor, Chris Messina, Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts | 80% Fresh | Christy Lemire: "'Celeste and Jesse Forever' is by no means a parody of romantic comedy cliches, but rather an acknowledgement of them en route to an exploration of greater emotional truths."
"The Babymakers" Millenium, US | DIR: Jay Chandrasekhar CAST: Paul Schneider, Olivia Munn, Kevin Heffernan, Wood Harris, Nat Faxon | Emanuel Levy: "Poorly conceived and executed, the film wastes the talents of Paul Schneider in a series of silly and embarrassing situations."
"Total Recall" reviews and trailers below: