Total Recall

Rated 3.0

The preview trailers in particular make this new Total Recall look like an empty exercise in video-game imagery, but on the big screen Len Wiseman’s film has an appealing kinetic energy for most of its two-hour running time. There’s plenty of CGI in action and settings alike, but not so much that a certain visceral sense of the characters’ physical reality gets entirely lost. Wiseman’s cast, headed by Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale, delivers a sort of pulp-fiction vitality, even as the special effects approach a suffocating critical mass. Farrell does yeoman duty as a troubled bloke who is both “ordinary” and possessed of action-hero capabilities. As the women in his puzzlingly multi-layered life, Beckinsale and Jessica Biel are the yin and yang of an action-boy fantasy girl. Early on, the thing works pretty well as sci-fi action fantasy. But Wiseman and company are much better at taking us into the story’s special world—with its dream implants, artificial memories, identity erasures, Rubik’s Cube architecture, and environmental catastrophes—than they are at getting us to some point at which the journey seems genuinely worthwhile. Cinemark 14 and Feather River Cinemas. Rated PG.