'Total Recall' is Hollywood at its worst: pointless, witless, and so very unnecessary.
With a new generation of visual effects at his command, director Len Wiseman has the ability to paint on a broader canvas, but since we see this caliber of movie magic on a regular basis it's no longer an Event.
"Total Recall" is a toned-down, smoothed-out version of an amped-up, bug-eyed classic.
This is a taut, serviceable sci-fi thriller with a couple of neat visual ideas, and if you're not familiar with either the Schwarzenegger version or the original story, the brain-bending twists alone will take you a reasonably long way.
Casting and visuals are an upgrade, but we get far too many action sequences and not enough of the mind games.
I was no particular fan of the first Total Recall, but I confess that this flat, by-the-numbers remake made me a tad nostalgic for its bombastic preposterousness.
Whatever tug Total Recall has on the imagination comes from the vague sense we've seen it all before. And seen it better: from Christopher Nolan's Inception to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner.
Director Len Wiseman is good on action, and Patrick Tatopoulus's dystopic production design is within hailing distance of Blade Runner, his chief influence. But essentially this is a big-screen video game.
Where Paul Verhoeven's original was testosterone-stupid and, therefore, fun, Wiseman's film is just boring-stupid.