SDCC 2011: Action-Heavy First Look at the 'Total Recall' Remake

Friday, 22 July 2011 22:45 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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SDCC 2011: Action-Heavy First Look at the 'Total Recall' Remake

Sony's Friday panel for Total Recall at San Diego Comic-Con featured no less than three figures who appeared on other panels earlier in the day.  Star Colin Farrell showed up for the panel promoting fellow remake Fright Night, which debuts in August.  The husband and wife team of director Len Wiseman and supporting player Kate Beckinsale showed up before on the Underworld: Awakening, the sequel starring Beckinsale and produced by Wiseman.  Bryan Cranston, Jessica Biel, and John Cho also joined in to discuss the remake of Paul Verhoeven's lunacy-filled adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novella We Can Remember it For You Wholesale

The panel was not necessarily the most informative, but the cast were all game, with Farrell in proving ingratiating and entertaining, just as he did during the Fright Night panel.  It was Bryan Cranston who stole the show during the Q & A, providing alternately witty and insightful answers to questions that without fail began with attendees declaring their love for Breaking Bad

Cranston plays Milos Cohaagen, the leader of nation-state Euromerica, who has nefarious plans to invade rival power New Shanghai.  Cranston described him as, "A world leader and general."  He also said that his take on the character involves finding and understanding the villain's rationale, but he nonetheless relished playing the heavy.  "That was part of the fun," he said.  "I get to celebrate badness."

While he received consistent praise for being awesome, Biel and Beckinsale both received consistent praise for being extraordinarily beautiful.  When asked if she felt any pressure playing the role previously brought to life by Sharon Stone, though, Beckinsale explained that this new film is, "A very different movie tonally," saying that the differences alleviate the pressures of direct comparison.

The differences between the original and the remake were evident in a clip that Wiseman introduced for Hall H consumption.  Wiseman explained that production is only halfway complete, and he was "Absolutely not ready to show anything," but that he also knows the pains of standing in line to glimpse cinematic goodies.  Thusly, he brought a rough clip, featuring incomplete effects and pre-visualization footage substituted for shots as yet unfilmed.

The clip introduces Farrell as Douglas Quaid, having a conversation with a character played by Bokeem Woodbine.  The obviously dissatisfied Quaid inquires about Rekall, a company that implants memories, spicing up a humdrum life.  Though he's cautioned against it, Quaid is immediately seen walking through Rekall, which this time has a strongly Asian design, almost looking like an opium den.  A blond-haired John Cho plans McClane, the Rekall proprietor who leads Quaid to a chair that does resemble the one seen in Verhoeven's film.  As the procedure begins, an alarm rings and McClane exclaims that Quaid is a spy. 

Almost instantly, a bunch of white suited shock troopers storm the establishment with lethal intent.  Just as suddenly, Quaid discovers latent powers of badassery, leading to an action scene and a pre-vis chase, with a hoverjet pursuing Quaid through a future metropolis.  All the action is very much of the type that Wiseman brought to the first two Underworld films and Live Free or Die Hard.  It looks like his take on Total Recall will be a more straightforward actioner, abandoning Verhoeven's fondness for pervy kitsch, over the top effects, and strange characters.  Since we already knew that the new screenplay by Mark Bomback, Kurt Wimmer, and James Vanderbilt does not include a trip to Mars or tongue in cheek humor, this isn't a big surprise.

Total Recall is scheduled for release on August 3, 2012.

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