Total Recall (12A)
Its the end of the 21st century and following worldwide chemical warfare, the globe is virtually uninhabitable save for the United Federation of Britain and The Colony, on the other side of the world. Every day, hordes of workers travel in 'The Fall' from The Colony to the UFB to do menial jobs for low wages. Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) is one such factory worker who after experiencing vivid dreams of himself working as a secret agent, travels to Rekall, an institution that promises to create new memories. But as he finds himself flung into an alternate reality where he is the centre of a new potential global conflict, Quaid must work out which reality he truly belongs in. Here's a trail.
Ok. First things first. Yes, the woman with three boobies is back. In fact, for fans of the original, she's far from the only thing to make a reappearance, with plenty of knowing references to the Schwarzenegger classic punctuating this updated version. But ultimately, this is a reboot rather than a remake, with the hyper real almost comic book feel of the 1990 Paul Verhoeven original replaced by a dark, brooding atmosphere making for an altogether more sombre affair.
But that's not to its detriment. In the way that Bourne changed Bond for the better, Len Wiseman cranks up the pace and creates a non stop chase movie in an expertly realised futuristic landscape that never lets its foot off the gas.
And unlike some of its contemporaries, TR doesn't try to confuse you in order to make you think you ate watching something clever. Yeah, there are twists and turns, and at times, like our hero, we don't know which version of reality we believe in, but it's not overdone to the point where you're so perplexed you lose interest. The pace is action packed throughout, in fact the film barely pauses for breath, and despite the limitations a CGI fest puts on the actors (almost every scene must have been shot in front of a blue screen), the cast all excel with Beckinsale as secret agent Lori Quaid while Farrell delivers the right mix of action and confusion in the lead role.
But it's the special effects that are the real stars of the show; the countless chase scenes through a superbly realised futuristic London are spellbinding while the denouement as Farrell attempts to save the colony by destroying 'The Fall' (an enormous elevator that travels through the centre of the earth) is a genuinely gripping climax.
This may not be the most intelligent film you'll watch this year, and it probably won't be the best, but don't let the naysayers put you off. Because its bloody good at what it does.
Review by Phil Turner
Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel
8 out of 10