Remember Total Recall?

Somebody (somewhere) decided it would be a good idea to remake the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick Total Recall, and the result is being released this summer — whether sci-fi fans want it or not.

Offhand, I cannot think of a reason why the Paul Verhoeven-directed special-effects extravaganza (which was more schlocky fun than any kind of classic to me) needs to be remade, but then again, when has that ever stopped Hollywood? This is another one of those productions (like Dark Shadows) that I had no interest in when it was announced — Colin Farrell replacing Ah-nuld as an amnesiac who may or may not be a freedom fighter/terrorist on Mars? — but after seeing the full-length trailer I am… less disinterested. Not quite interested, but I don’t see it as a black hole of nothing anymore, because it looks like the producers are really trying to be different. But it’s keeping the same name.

This version features Farrell, Kate Beckinsale (Underworld) and Jessica Biel, and is directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld) — Kate’s real-life husband. And it features a wicked catfight between Kate and Jessica, so that could theoretically make up for a multitude of sins. And visual effects have come a long way since the late-1980s technology used to turn Arnold into a woman. Still, I’m not convinced I need to see this in a theater, so the flick still has some work to do.

Review: The A-Team (2010)

The new guys

The plan for The A-Team was to adapt a cheesy 1980s action TV series for the big screen by distilling its spirit and repackaging it with 21st century effects, and, to quote Col. John “Hannibal” Smith himself: “I love it when a plan comes together.”

Loud, fast-moving, violent and filled with explosions and wisecracks, it’s hard to imagine a more faithful adaptation of the explosion-laden, wisecracking TV series. Befitting the larger venue, the movie characters feel bigger: Bradley Cole’s Templeton “Faceman” Peck is much more in-your-face; brash and boastful, rather than coolly confident. B.A. Baracus gets fleshed out much more fully by Quinton “Rampage” Jackson than Mr. T was ever allowed to do on the small screen. And Sharlto Copley’s (District 9) “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock is completely divorced from reality – touching down only occasionally to refuel before taking off on another flight of fancy. Only mastermind Hannibal seems smaller than he was on TV, perhaps because Liam Neeson, as the acting heavyweight in the cast, chooses to actually play him as a thinker, even though his plans are even more outrageous than the wild scams George Peppard dreamed up on a weekly TV budget.
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