Colin Farrell's new movie Total Recall is a remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, which was likewise an inflation of a very short 1966 sci-fi story by Philip K. Dick. Dick's knotty tale involves a man who longs to go to Mars, and also to be a super-spy. Knowing he'll never be able to do those things, he decides to allow realer-than-real memories of them to be implanted in his brain. In the process of having this done he discovers that he has already been to Mars, and that he already is a super-spy. Brain-twisting reality complications ensue.
The new movie, writes Kurt Loder, directed by Len Wiseman (founder of the tedious Underworld franchise), tosses out the earlier film's Mars element and ladles in some brazen cinematic appropriations—the trashed-out urban rainscape of Blade Runner, a herd of hard-shelled Star Wars-style storm troopers. If only Wisemen had borrowed some of those movies' style and fun, or at least coherence.