It's hard to go into the remake of a movie without expectations or comparisons to the previous version. Thankfully, gentle readers, the producers of Total Recall have avoided this conflict, because the story is almost exactly the same as in the first movie.
I know! I can hear the gasps of shock from all of you right now!
The biggest differences in Total Recall 2.0 are the setting (it takes place on a future Earth devastated by chemical warfare) and the inclusion of some Big Sci-Fi Concepts. For example, a building-sized super-elevator that travels from Europe to Australia through the Earth's core, robot soldiers, memory implants and flying cars. These are all things intended to appeal to our inner adolescent.
Unfortunately, aside from set dressing and some minor changes to the plot, there's nothing fresh or new about this version of Total Recall.
Also, if I may get picky for a moment, this movie is the perfect example of a Hollywood future where everyone is terribly good-looking, but dumber than a box of rocks.
Overpopulation is a problem in this future Earth, but we don't once see any evidence of compulsory birth control. No public health notices or public service announcements. Nothing at all.
And, even if such things were anathema to the population, why aren't these people expanding their living space by going underground? Or colonizing the moon or Mars? Why aren't they sending legions of synthetic workers to mine the asteroids for resources? Why aren't they trying to reclaim the toxic wasteland?
Now that I think about it, Total Recall 2.0 is a bit like the awful Superman remake foisted on the public a few years ago. The one with Kevin Spacey playing Lex Luthor and Brandon Routh lumbering through the Superman role. Total Recall 2.0 is all about real estate!
Oh. Wait. That makes about as much sense in this movie as it did in Superman.
Now, as for the performances, they are serviceable albeit dull. There's nothing spectacular about any of them, you get no sense that anyone is really stretching themselves and it's fairly obvious that Bill Nighy is only there for a paycheck.
Overall, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would give Total Recall a solid three. Don't waist your money seeing this movie in the theater, just wait for it to come out on video or Pay-Per-View. Better yet, go rent the original version or read the Phillip K. Dick short story the films were based on, "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale."