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total recall

Reasons why the old Total Recall kicks the shit out of the new Total Recall

1 – Blood and Guts – The old Total Recall is one of the last examples of the old studio approved, non-PC, screw PG-13, action movie aesthetic.  Innocent bystanders are mercilessly mowed down by gunfire.  Blood flies everywhere when people get shot.  Arnold uses one of these poor saps as a ketchup spurting human shield.  Eyes bulge out, arms are ripped off and one guy gets a big metal rod through his brain.  SO COOL!  If Schwarzenegger helped create and typify this reckless, fuck all attitude he equally helped to bring about its end the very next year when his Terminator character started shooting people in the knee.  Anyway, the new Recall has Colin Farrell shooting lots of robots and when the occasional human get shot, they fall down like a kids toy having its battery yanked out.  Utterly fucking hopeless.

2 – Michael Ironside – Or as he should be known, Ironside the Amazing.  This beloved, granite chinned character actor didn’t have Arnold’s muscles but his glare looked like it could make Mr. Universe’s head explode.  Ironside is all smoldering rage and hatred and his painful demise is classic.  “See you at the party Victor!”  In the new movie his and Sharon Stone’s part have been melded together in the form of Kate Beckinsale who winds up doing a wit free T-1000 impersonation.  Speaking of which.

3 – Sharon Stone – Stone pretty much laid the groundwork for her few successful movie roles right here.  She’s hot sex and sadistic violence wrapped up in a pretty blonde fantasy package.  She pouts and flirts and with the flick of a switch kicks Arnold in the balls with unabashed glee, twice!  Her bullet through the head demise is all the more stunning when we watch husband Ironside find her dead on the floor.  Consider that a divorce indeed.

4 – Mars and aliens – The Mars setting really lets the old version move to somewhere fun and the alien aspect gives it an unorthodox story element.  The use of models and matte paintings to create the monolithic alien humidifier still looks pretty good too.  The new movie stays Earthbound, devising an even more nonsensical plot about England and Australia being the only places inhabitable on Earth.  The two locations are connected by a huge subway tube that goes through the Earth’s core.  It mostly feels like an excuse for lots of big CGI.  The cityscapes are cool looking and very convincing but once again the creative team is trying to make everything look and feel like Blade Runner.  The future it seems must always contain lots of neon lights and rain.

5 – Mutants! – How can you amputate this part of Recall?  Psychic, bug eyed mutants.  Mutants with steaks for a face.  Creepy, grasshopper-arm mutant.  The three tittied hooker!  And Kuato.  How does one top Kuato?  A babyman, prophet living in the chest cavity of another man?  Someone was so damn high.  The new Recall doesn’t even try to mimic or one up this aspect.  It just puts a bored looking Bill Nighy in a trench coat and says he’s important.  Fuck that.  The three tittied woman does make a fun if pointless cameo.

6 – Ahnuld – Absurd sci-fi stories are often best when they’re headed by equally absurd and/or charismatic actors.  Arnold is the perfect leading man for a ridiculous movie like this and TR goes out of its way to make him look silly.  He wears a turban for 10 minutes, pulls a tracking device out of his skull through his nose, briefly wears a dress and nearly has his head explode through atmospheric decompression.  If Arnold is a living cartoon TR does it’s best to prove that.  Colin Farrell by comparison has no such luck.  I like Farrell as an actor and he can do tweaked as well as anyone.  So to see him reduced to a Jason Bourne clone who runs, looks panicked and punches people is a waste of everyone’s time.  This Recall clearly cost too much to have a wacky maniac at its center.

7 – Paul Verhoven – If you had to condense all these things that make the old TR great into two words you simply say Paul Verhoven.  This mad Dutch nut was at his twisted peak when Recall came around.  He turned what could be a standard issue action piece into a sick, slick joyride.  He’s a director who is simply not afraid to swing his dick around in the middle of a cocktail party.  By comparison new Recall director Len Wiseman (Live Free or Die Bored) has had his movie manhood removed and thus delivers a film which reflects as much.  His Recall all joyless, cold, CGI craftsmanship.  And while that may impress some, the CGI is top-tier and impressively detailed, every other aspect of his story is bloodless and boring.  There’s not a memorable thing about it aside form how expensive it all looks.  It’s basically a $125 million X-Box game.

8 – The Little Things – A dwarf hooker stabbing a guy in the gut.  Ronny Cox killing his goldfish.  Screaming prosthetic Arnold heads.  An old woman screaming “Fuck you you asshole!”.  Innocent bystanders being sucked into the atmosphere of Mars.  CGI skeletons.  Bad Arnold revealing himself to be an evil dickhead to good Arnold.  “Get your ass to Mars” and mouse guts.


Open your mind and Merry Christmas!


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