The future ain’t what it used to be.
That holds doubly true for this generic, cut-and-paste remake of 1990’s “Total Recall,” a sci-fi action thriller based on “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” a short story by Phillip K. Dick.
The first “Total Recall” was an R-rated, rowdy romp starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and directed with over-the-top enthusiasm by Paul Verhoeven (“Showgirls”).
The new movie is set in a future in which the only inhabitable parts of Earth are the United Federation of Britain and its subjugated outpost, the Colony (Australia). The hero, factory worker Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), lives in the Colony and commutes at high speed halfway around the world to the UFB for his job.
This routine is upended when Quaid inadvertently discovers that he has been living a lie. His memory has been erased and his identity replaced. So who is he really? While he tries to find out the answer, he’s on the run from sinister figures who want him either captured or dead.
Quaid is also caught betwixt two women: his fake-life wife (Kate Beckinsale) and a paramour from his past (Jessica Biel), both expert fighters.
There’s an overload of running, jumping and fighting in this PG-13 flick. There’s also an extended chase scene involving hover cars on elevated highways. That sequence, and others, will remind viewers of 2002’s much superior “Minority Report,” also based on a short story by Dick.
It also suffers by comparison to another Dick-derived classic, 1982’s “Blade Runner.”
Those movies featured distinctive characters and involving stories — this is nothing more than regurgitated futuristic action claptrap.
Starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel
Written by Kurt Wimmer, Mark Bomback
Directed by Len Wiseman
Running time 1 hour 58 minutes