STARRING: Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, Kate Beckinsale, Bryan Cranston
DIRECTOR: Len Wiseman (CERT 12A, 118 minutes)
The plot: In a year in which Ted and Brave are just about the only big hits not based on a previous movie, book, TV show, play or comic, now arrives this redo of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi hit. In a polluted future Earth, factory worker Doug Quaid (Farrell) takes a break from his dull life when he plugs into a virtual “holiday” at the premises of mind-trip retailer Rekall. Soon he’s on the run, learning that he’s a former spy who joined the resistance to the fascist state, and that his worker-drone life and marriage to Lori (Beckinsale) is all a sham created by implanted memories.
What’s right with it? Based on the Philip K Dick short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, Total Recall benefits from a smart, Matrix-y premise that also allows director Wiseman to explore a Blade Runner-ish universe of sleek technology and shanty-town decay. Nifty gadgets include hand-embedded mobile phones, face-switching neck rings and a commuter train between worker dormitory the Colony (Australia) and power base the Federation of Britain, which “falls” through the planet’s core.
What’s wrong with it? So much resource has been expended on something so seemingly pointless. The action – Quaid teams up with fellow resistance fighter Melina (Biel) – gets bogged down in CGI-heavy chases, occasionally enlivened by perky physical combat.
Verdict: If you never saw the original, Total Recall 2012 is a serviceable blockbuster for the dog days of summer. Sometimes, being the acceptable-compromise choice at the cinema is just about enough. 3/5 @charlesgant
STARRING: Xavier Samuel, Kris Marshall, Kevin Bishop
DIRECTOR: Stephan Elliott (CERT 15, 96 minutes)
The plot: What with The Wedding Video and now this, nuptial-based comedies seem to be all the rage. Englishman David (Samuel) is getting married to Aussie Mia (Laura Brent) – but with his three best men plotting drink and drug-addled pranks, it’s an eventful trip Down Under.
What’s right with it? If you’re prepared to submit to the stag-night silliness, this has its moments – Kris Marshall and Kevin Bishop fans are well served and it’s a treat to see Olivia Newton-John as the mother of the bride who lets her hair down.
What’s wrong with it? Most of the jokes are predictable, overplayed and very crass – your heart may sink as soon as you see a ram in the family stables.
Verdict: This really wants to be Oz’s answer to The Hangover. It isn’t. 2/5 @annasmithjourno
STARRING: Harry Treadaway, Rasmus Hardiker, Michelle Ryan
DIRECTOR: Matthias Hoene (CERT 15, 88 minutes)
The plot: Brothers Andy (Treadaway) and Terry (Hardiker) plan a bank robbery to save their granddad’s business, an East End care home, from evil developers. But then London is overrun by zombies.
What’s right with it? What sounds like a one-joke premise is milked effectively for grisly laughs, while bantering double act Treadaway (cute!) and Hardiker effectively hold the centre. Top moment is 78-year-old Richard Briers outpacing a zombie, inch by inch, with his Zimmer frame.
What’s wrong with it? Strippers Vs Werewolves, Cockneys Vs Zombies… these horror mash-ups aren’t exactly essential viewing.
Verdict: In a week hardly brimming with must-see movies, this amiable lark is our top tip. 3/5 @charlesgant