Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Total Recall (2012) Part 2

Click here for Part 1!

HOWEVER, there exists a kill code that'll take out all of the robocops and prevent this. Hauser saw it while he was on UFB, which means the resistance can retrieve it from his head and use it to stop Cohaagan. There we have it finally, our plot. Cohaagan is after SPACE and is going about getting it in the most ridiculous way possible: by killing off everyone in the Colony so the UFB can take it over. That's actually a very sweet insane super villain plan, BUUUUUUT it feels so out of place here because it sounds like a comic book plot. It would have fit in perfectly in the original, as that Cohaagen was just on a generic “power and money” trip and could have used some spicing up.

PG-13 Version: the hologram is of him, revealing his real name is Carl Hauser. The hologram still has “limited interactive capabilities” and says pretty much the same stuff Ethan did.

Doug argues with Jessica over the validity of this recording and its revelations, but she's able to convince him by showing the scar on her hand which matches him from the bullet that pierced them. They're about to kiss when they see the bad guys arriving outside. They run down to the lobby to escape, only to find themselves facing the entire police force and the most lens flares you've ever seen in your life.

Only Harry is there and we're doing the “none of this is real and you're still at Rekall” scene from the original movie, only it's WAY stupid here and goes on way, WAY too long. Doug keeps pointing out the lies Harry is telling him, only to have Harry spin them in a ridiculous manner that turns all of this into unintentional comedy.

“Why are you wearing a bulletproof vest then?”
Because YOUR imagination wants me to!”

This scene is made even more hilarious with Jessica's terrible acting, as she's arguing against Harry with all the intensity of him not liking her latest Facebook status. Harry tells Doug the only way to end this delusion is to shoot Jessica, but when Doug sees a tear rolling down her face he headshots Harry instead. This did NOT work at all, the original really had you wondering but here it's written so bad you never believe Harry for a single second. This is also the point I pretty much gave up on this movie, as everything goes downhill from here HARD.

As Harry's body hits the floor, the police open fire. Lori, who was out in the crowd playing the distressed wife, takes off after Doug and Jessica as they escape into an elevator. They ride it to an upper floor, where Lori has MAGICALLY TELEPORTED in front of them and opens fire.  They hide behind a corner while waiting for another elevator, as Lori taunts both of them. She wants Doug dead because he's a traitor to the UFB, which means Cohaagan wasn't totally honest with her when he revealed who Doug really was. She continues to prattle on, dropping this gem:

“So you might want to give your little girlfriend a kiss goodbye, long as she doesn't mind where those lips have been!”

Brilliant, but ruined by her delivery. Again, we SO needed Claire Danes in this movie.  But because Jessica is apparently a 14 year old girl, this sets her off and she walks STRAIGHT OUT OF COVER to shoot at Lori. Doug's like “What are you, stupid?!” and drags her back but she quips “Oh THAT'S IT! I'm ending this bitch!”.  This is some of the worst acting EVER, I truly mean that.

Yeah, attempted murder is totes okay, but sleeping with MY man?! Nuh uh, beeyatch!”

Lori and her squad of robocops start advancing on the two, Doug shooting at them when he RUNS OUT OF AMMO. What the bloody hell? Is this a Total Recall movie or not?! The guns in this universe are supposed to have infinite ammo!  The elevator isn't coming, so Doug pries open the doors and they jump into the empty shaft and this is where things gets WEIRD. We get ANOTHER chase scene where they keep running and jumping from shaft to shaft with Lori in pursuit. This scene hurts my zombie brain as this is an apartment building where the center section is nothing but infinite elevators? How does that even make sense?!

Their journey through the M.C. Escher designed building over, they kick their way into an elevator. One of Lori's robocops tries to follow them but gets its arm torn off as the elevator passes a wall. This is WEAKSAUCE tribute to Michael Ironside getting his arms ripped off in the 1990 version, but that's getting par for course at this point.

The elevator stops at a floor and the doors open as we see Lori has MAGICALLY TELEPORTED right in front of them and opens fire again. What the hell?! Is she related to Jason Voorhees in the remake or something? They try to close the elevator but Lori and a robocop jump in for a 2 on 2 fist fight because they're all end up disarming each other. The battle is just awful, as not only is it done in Shaky Cam but the director made the wise idea of filming it overhead and SPINNING the camera around.

Lori plants a bomb on the elevator and jumps out, Doug and Jessica managing to take another elevator jump in time. Lori watches them go with hate in her eyes, but all I can think is why doesn't she just teleport in front of them again? Does she need time to recharge her abilities?  Doug and Jessica emerge on the city streets, where they overhear a news report that the Colony's governor has been funding the resistance and military action is imminent. Jessica takes Doug to an abandoned subway station where the resistance has a base apparently hidden by lens flares.

In the Director's Cut they reveal Jessica is the daughter of Matthias, which does absolutely nothing for the plot but hey, revealing a character is someone's daughter ALWAYS make a movie better right?  This also gives me horrific flashbacks of Blade: Trinity, as that movie also had a pointless subplot where Jessica was revealed to be the daughter of another character for no good reason.  They ride a train to an old city in a radioactive zone, which is where Matthias has been hiding. Ohhh, so THIS is how the movie's going to introduce the mutants to us. So there actually WAS a point with the whole chemical warfare thing- oh no, wait. There isn't. No mutants.

They have to briefly wear gas masks as they enter a building, but that's it. Inside everyone's just fine, no mutations or cancer or anything at all. They don't even give us a kid with a mutated eye or something to give the noble Doug something to REALLY fight for, since it's sure as hell not his relationship with Jessica. They have all the chemistry of bleach and chlorine, especially in an embarrassing dialogue they had on the train where the movie tries to convince us they're in “love” (complete with heartfelt and emotional music).

But to be fair, they're just being loyal to the original movie here as Arnold and Melina had an abrupt relationship with very little chemistry as well. And I'm still calling Jessica by her real name here as almost 1:20 in and they STILL haven't said her damn character name. Rhargh I hate that!  Doug meets with Matthias, who echoes much of Kuato's conversation from the original only it's WAY more word-y and bullshit-y. The writers are trying to be “deep” here, but it's totally pointless because Matthias isn't a telepath! All he has is a Rekall chair because, sure, why not? We only have half an hour of film time and we need to get to the Big Dumb Ending as fast as possible.

Doug sits in the implant chair as they dig into his mind, but all this does is trigger a hologram of Cohaagan who is all “busted”! UFB forces burst in and start shooting everyone except our stars naturally. Cohaagan and Lori arrive, the Chancellor revealing the whole “kill code” thing doesn't exist and this was just a trap to get Matthias and then promptly shoots him.

In the Director's Cut Version Jessica tries to attack Cohaagan for this but he pistol whips her in the FACE! Doug screams out “Melina” and she FINALLY gets a name at 1:32. Cohaagan goes on to detail everything in his plan, James Bond villain style, saying that it was Hauser's idea to do the whole double agent thing.

In the PG-13 version Jessica just gives Cohaagan murder-eyes. Cohaagan briefly talks about his plan and makes no mention of Hauser being behind it all.

They put Doug into the implant chair, planning to inject him with a backup of Hauser's mind. Cohaagan leaves with Jessica, planning to force her to confess against Matthias. Doug pleads for her freedom with some EXCEPTIONALLY bad acting from Colin, but he was probably just in a hurry to get this over with so he could go work on the infinitely better Seven Psychopaths. Some human guards are left to perform the procedure on Doug, as one of them is revealed to be Hammond from the beginning of the film. The movie even gives us a helpful flashback of who he is because we're all too stupid to remember something that happened an hour ago.

Hammond secretly loosens Doug's restraints, which irks me a lot. Not because in the original Arnold was able to break free with his own brute strength, but this is the second straight Paul Verhoeven remake where our hero is saved at the end by a character who was barely in the movie! Remember the Robocop remake where Murphy was saved from the ED-209s and Mattox by What's-His-Name?

So Doug breaks free, kills everyone but is unable to save Hammond who gets fatally shot by one of the guards. Was Hammond actually in the resistance, or just Doug's really good friend?  The Director's Cut Version makes this even more incomprehensible because Hammond called him Harry when he of all people would know he's really Hauser since they were UFB buddies.  These are the kinds of thing a good movie usually establishes so it doesn't come off all deus ex machina, but... yeah.

We see Cohaagan and 50,000 robocops boarding the Fall to invade the Colony as Doug secretly joins them, armed with a bag of bombs that he plants in the engine room or whatever powers the Fall. He then magically knows where Jessica is being held because the movie is shifting into full “I Don't Give A Fuck Mode” at this point.

Director's Cut Version: He frees Jessica, telling her they have to get off the Fall ASAP before the bombs go off... and then stops to tell her how much he loves her, how he got his memory back, blah blah blah.

PG-13 Version: He frees Jessica, telling her they have to get off the Fall ASAP before the bombs go off so they take off running. Much better.

They soon get surrounded by guards, but then it's gravity shift time and everyone start floating. Doug is the only person able to move in zero g, so he grabs a gun and shoots everyone. He and Jessica hide in a room, but Lori Voorhees teleports outside the door and tries to get in. Doug tries to open the emergency exit, but it won't deploy since they're near the core. Sigh... do you know how HOT the core is? Well, I sure don't so I looked it up!

Now based off a picture we saw of the Fall earlier they have to be at least in the Earth's mantle, which is TWELVE THOUSAND DEGREES!  Because this movie is good for something, which is making me question how much bullshit everything is (thanks realistic tone!), inspired me to do some research and I learned a cremation oven's temperature is around 1,800 degrees. Almost ten times that temperature should mean Colin would be an instant pile of ash the second he opens that hatch.

When they pass the core gravity comes back on, so Doug opens the hatch so he and Jessica can climb OUTSIDE THE FALL as it races through Earth. Do you know how fast the Fall must be going right now? Me neither! Doing some research, it seems the Fall would have to be traveling nearly 28,000 miles per hour to make it from Australia to Britain in 17 minutes. That's faster than a space shuttle needs to go to escape Earth's gravity, which would CERTAINLY vaporize an exposed human being into red mist. That's EXACTLY why you can't make these kind of stories all serious, because it forces you to think about this kind of stuff. If Arnold was climbing onto the side of the Fall right now I wouldn't even be thinking twice about it, I'd be more worried about the giant mecha-dinosaur he'd be shooting rockets at right now.

Doug and Jessica climb up a ladder towards the top of the Fall, planning to head to the aircraft bay so they can escape the upcoming explosion. Cohaagan and his men are waiting for them, capturing Doug but losing Jessica who gets away in the firefight.  The Fall arrives at the Colony, as Lori activates the robocops and starts heading towards the exit. Cohaagan is about to shoot Doug when Jessica appears in a gunship and starts blasting away at all the grunts. Cohaagan and Doug battle as the bombs start going off, the movie erratically jumping from Jessica to Doug to Lori trying to escape the explosions.  Doug ends up stabbing Cohaagan with a knife, Doug grabbing Jessica and slow motion jumping off the Fall before it's completely destroyed.

The Fall, uh, falls down its tube as the explosions finish it off. Jessica tries to wake up Doug, who has passed out after his knife battle with Cohaagan. The screen fades to black as we get a quick voice over of Mac talking about Rekall from earlier for some reason, Doug waking up in an ambulance. Jessica is next to him... or is she? Doug notices she has no scar on her hand so he forcefully grabs her, realizing she's wearing a hologram collar and rips it off to reveal Lori.

Okay, so Lori had unlimited chances to kill Doug while he was unconscious but didn't so she could screw with him. She's been established as a pure psychopath, so that's fine. I mean, she's just lost EVERYTHING so it's not like killing him quick is going to benefit her anything. The PROBLEM with this is Len Wiseman just directed a movie where his wife OUTLIVED the Big Bad. It wasn't enough he made his wife the most badass and “ubercool” character in the entire movie, he just had to add this icing to the cake? He didn't get enough of this shit with Underworld, he had to ruin another movie with how awesome his wife is? We all owe Will Smith a HUGE apology for accusing him of shoving his son down our throats. That was just ONE movie, Wiseman's done it THREE times now.

Doug and Lori spar a bit until he takes a gun and FINALLY, FINALLY kills her. Wow, I'm amazed it only took one bullet! I was sure Wiseman would require a rail gun that shoots mini-nukes to finish off his Goddess of a wife.  Doug exits the ambulance where he sees Jessica nearby, the two embracing as news reports declare this will be “a new page in history” and the beginning of a “path to an independent nation”. ...why? Just because Cohaagan is dead doesn't mean his regime is just done. A man that evil surely would have filled his entire cabinet with like-minded people, they're bound to get right on rebuilding the Fall and- oh wait, this is over. I can stop watching or thinking about this movie now!

Well, almost. Doug glances at a billboard for Rekall that I guess is supposed to make us wonder if this all really happened but whatever, you did NOTHING to earn that movie so piss off. Not to mention showing the opening scene of Doug and Jessica trying to escape the hospital establishes that everything DID happen, so you fail movie. You fail so hard.

The Director's Cut Version takes the bullshit up to eleven, as instead of looking at a billboard Doug looks down at his arm and realizes the Rekall tattoo is GONE. They give us another flashback of this because we're a bunch of drooling idiots who couldn't possibly understand why he's looking at his arm.

He then looks at the billboard as Jessica asks what's wrong. He says he's fine as they embrace again. Ha hah, nice try movie. I'd tear into this idiotic attempt at a plot twist, but this movie is over and I no longer care. Not that I have for the last hour or so.

Cue the credits and let's get the hell out of here.

Of all the words I was thinking I'd use to describe this movie before I saw it, I certainly didn't think “disappointment” was going to top the list but it certainly did. This movie started off very intriguing and raised by hopes that it was going to be something special. But then it crashed and burned, just like the Fall.  Zing.  It's like they focused all their creativity making the first part and then just totally ran out of energy afterward. Everything except the acting started off so great, especially the action. The fist fight and shootout when Doug gets discovered at the Fall was pretty amazing, as evidenced by the fact I still remember it after the movie is over whereas I can't remember a single confrontation from the ending.

And that ends all the praise I have for this film. In its defense though, it actually wasn't that bad but ended up as just another generic run of the mill sci-fi movie where everything gets stupid at the end. You know what WAS bad about it though?  Us having to endure Wiseman's latest cinematic love letter to his wife. Every scene is “look how hot my wife is!” or “look how much ass she can kick!” and it gets old REAL quick. Especially towards the middle of the film when she develops mutant powers and is able to teleport to any location at the drop of a hat.  Guess she must have gone to the Lois Lane School Of Plot Convenience to learn Advanced Teleportation.

If Wiseman didn't spend almost every scene of this movie trying to shove the camera up his wife's ass, I probably would give this a low recommendation. But since he did, I'm giving this one a pass unless you catch it on late night TV or something and have NOTHING better to do. Or at least watch up until Jessica Biel shows up and then change the channel, everything up to that point is pretty enjoyable.  If you do see it, make sure to wear some sun glasses so the lens flares don't burn out your corneas.

How did this fare against the 1990 version? Let's find out in the Original Vs. Remake Final Rundown:

1.  What Were The Movies About?
-In the 1990 version construction worker Doug Quaid learns he's an unwitting pawn by the Chancellor of Mars to kill the resistance opposing him. A hyperviolent and awesome killing spree ensues as Doug battles to free Mars.

-In the 2012 version factory worker Doug Quaid learns he's an unwitting pawn by the Chancellor of Britain to kill the resistance opposing him. A barely violent destruction spree against a bunch of robots ensues as Doug battles to free Australia.

2.  Which Movie Had The Better Protagonist?
You are NOT going to win this contest against 1990's Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sorry Colin!

3.  Which Movie Had The Better Love Interest?
Rhargh, tough one here as both were pretty terrible. 1990 Melina did almost nothing and ended up being pretty pointless, whereas 2012 Melina CAN'T. ACT. AT. ALL. But 2012 Melina actually played a part in the movie's events so she wins.

4.  Which Movie Had The Better Antagonist?
It pains me to say this, but Bryan Cranston was also pretty terrible in this. You can't really blame it on his acting, as he was written a completely evil, mustache-twirling villain with absolutely nothing going on beside EVIL! Compare him to the 1990 version, who was also cartoony evil but actually had SOME depth as he was really upset about having to order the death of his friend. 1990 version takes this round in a landslide.  Even sub-villain Michael Ironside's character was saddened by the loss of his girlfriend.

5.  Which Movie Had The Better Story?
The 1990 version, twenty four years after its released, is STILL being analyzed and debated as to what was going on. It's not Shakespeare, but it certainly was layered enough to give your brain something to do while your eyes took in Arnold killing his way across two planets. It also had a tight plot where Arnold was racing against time to free the repressed mutants of Mars, whom the movie actually took the time to make sure we cared about their fate.

In the 2012 version, Doug barely did anything. He saved the people of the Colony, whom the movie NEVER ONCE THOUGHT to show us their suffering so we'd maybe give an iota of a damn about, from mass extinction by a bunch of robocops... but did he really save them or just delay the inevitable? All I could think is the UFB will just work on another way to reach the Colony and take their land, and Lord I hope that's not the sequel.

6.  Which Movie Wins?
Pointless question. Nothing to see here, move along.