' Cinema Romantico: Watching Total Recall (And Rooting For Kate Beckinsale)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Watching Total Recall (And Rooting For Kate Beckinsale)

Oh, woe is Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell). I mean, sure, he lives in a traditional futuristic dystopian society where a massive war has left earth reeling and, sure, he has to commute from Australia to Britain every day (don’t ask) for his crummy job putting together robots but, hey, Quaid! You get to wake up every morning in bed next to Kate Beckinsale (Lori)! KATE BECKINSALE! That’s not enough?! You really wish your “life had turned out different”? Different than waking up every morning in bed next to Kate Beckinsale? Sorry, pal, but I've got no sympathy for you.


Now, I get it. Okay? I do. I get that this is not REALLY Quaid’s life. I get that this life has been implanted in his memory and that Lori is not his wife but actually working undercover for the UFB (United Federation of Britain) since Quaid is not Quaid but Hauser, a spy for the obligatory Resistance which has risen up to fight back against UFB. So I get that Quaid is the Good Guy and Lori is the Bad Guy (Girl). I get that I am contracted to root for Quaid and root against Lori.

But this is a Kate Beckinsale movie. I don’t watch Kate Beckinsale movies to root for Colin Farrell. I watch Kate Beckinsale movies to root for Kate Beckinsale. And once you get past “Total Recall’s” apparent Anglophobia (notice how Kate Beckinsale only employs her English accent once she’s revealed to be evil), it’s easy to root for Kate Beckinsale. She glares out from behind her tortured bangs, often with a bloodthirsty smile that makes it seem as if she has sensual fangs. If you claim she is really bad at her job because Quaid/Hauser keeps escaping her clutches, well, you clearly don’t understand this is all part of the games people play. Kate Beckinsale, see, is it in for the thrill of the chase. She coulda wrapped this ball of uninspiring CGI up in a cool 15 minutes but just took it a little too far and paid the price, though, rest assured, no one has ever paid the price with such elegance.

Having said all that, I regret to inform the less Kate Beckinsale-obsessed viewers that director Len Wiseman does virtually nothing with the concept of the possibility of our memories being implanted and instead decides to make his version of "Total Recall" (Paul Verhoeven's came first, as you might recall, with Arnie Schwarzenegger back in 1990) one extended chase scene.

Kate Beckinsale has very stylish boots.
Except the chase is, like, soooooooooo boring, man. I am writing this less than ten hours after having seen it and I remember nothing aside from Kate Beckinsale's stylish 5th Avenue Boots. I don't know, there is a lot of punching and kicking and guns fired and evil robots and flying cars and this, that and the other, but it is all filmed with no imagination or wit and no desire to have it make visual sense for the viewer.

Come to think of it, this is the third Kate Beckinsale movie (along with "Van Helsing" and "Underworld Awakening") that has briefly (literally) put me to sleep. That's a fairly significant problem.

6 comments:

Dan said...

Sadly, I totally agree on the boredom. How can a movie with so much CGI and almost constant action be so dull? Beckinsale has more fun than Jessica Biel at least, but she's also really hammy. At least she takes it less seriously than everyone else. What a stinker.

Nick Prigge said...

I know not everyone lied Live Free or Die Hard but I liked parts of it and that at least suggested Wiseman had some skill had crafting action sequences. Which just makes it that much more flabbergasting at how dull all the action here is.

Castor said...

Saw this last weekend, really mediocre flick indeed. It really does nothing with all the fascinating science-fiction concept present in the plot. Seriously dull movie!

Sir Phobos said...

Out of the many complaints I have, one of the big ones is that it totally pushes aside the mystery as to whether or not it's all in Quaid's head. They just ran with the idea that it's real without a second thought.

Also, yea...booooooring.

Vancetastic said...

I'll join the chorus. This was in my bottom 10 of the year. It's bad on its own, but suffers especially when compared to Verhoeven's. Not a good decision to collapse the Sharon Stone character and the Michael Ironside character into one character. Oh, and not a good decision on everything else as well. So what, there's only ONE of these elevators that shoots through the earth? Really?

Nick Prigge said...

Castor: Really mediocre. Too true.

Phobos: Exactly! Excellent point! One of my friends asked me that question, if they played up whether or not it was in Quaid's head and that's when it hit me that I just had that one scene for "suspense" sake and, really, that was it.

Vance: Hold it, the ONLY thing I liked was that they collapsed the Stone/Ironside character into one.

Of course, that was only because Kate Beckinsale played the part. If I remove that from the equation, yeah, not so good.