18. Total Recall
Director: Len Wiseman
Stars: Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, Kate Beckinsale, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, Bill Nighy, John Cho
As much as we scoff at movie remakes, every now and then one comes along that actually seems like a decent idea. Total Recall, at first, was one such catalyst for optimism. The bonkers 1990 original, directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime, holds up as an entertaining, no-holds-barred freakshow with three-breasted hookers, intergalactic mutants, and some hilarious, dark wit. Given the right amount of modern-day gadgetry and a big-budget makeover, a new take on sci-fi author Philip K. Dick's short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale could slickly upgrade Verhoeven's very '80s production.
And maybe someday a filmmaker will come along who possesses the necessary amount of imagination and, yes, skill to do just that. Unfortunately, this time around, Total Recall fans were stuck with Underworld director Len Wiseman, a near-hack largely responsible for draining the story of its zaniness and endearing monstrosities, instead going with lame, I, Robot-esque antagonists, a lazy script, wasted actors (Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel turn in performances that are too good for the film), and a gratuitous, useless three-boob-flashing prostitute, just because. So much for defending the remake trend.