Total Recall (2012)

Total Recall is so fresh in my memory, despite the movie being 23 years old. It is a popular, successful science fiction movie with Arnie at his peak. Why then would anyone want to remake the movie? Not reboot but remake the same story with some changes here and there and updating the special effects which is 22 years old! The last reason is the only one that makes sense to me after watching the movie this rainy Saturday afternoon. While I am impressed by the awesome special effects, the movie as a whole doesn’t do much to improve on the original story wise. It offers nothing new. Directed by¬†Len Wiseman¬†and written by¬†Mark Bomback,¬† James Vanderbilt, and¬†Kurt Wimmer the movie stars¬†Colin Farrell,¬†Kate Beckinsale,¬†Jessica Biel,¬† Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine. John Cho, Ethan Hawke and¬†Bill Nighy have minor appearances.

If you have seen the original movie, except for the fact that we don’t see Mars anywhere, the movie is about the same. It’s like looking at fraternal twins; yeah there are some changes to the whole package but you see the resemblance. In a dystopian future after chemical warfare devastate earth only two habitable lands remain – the United Federation of Britain and the Colony (Australia). Many residents of the Colony travel to the UFB to work in their factories via “the Fall”, a gravity elevator, which travels through the Earth. A Resistance operating in the UFB seeks to improve life in the Colony. he film centers upon an ordinary factory worker who accidentally discovers that his current life is a fabrication predicated upon false memories implanted into his brain by the government. Ensuing events leave no room for doubt that his true identity is that of a highly-trained¬†secret agent. He then follows a trail of clues to gradually recover more suppressed memories and reassumes his original vocation with renewed dedication.

So like I said earlier the special effects and sets are awesome. I really like the overall look of the film. The action sequences are also extremely well done. Jessica Biel & Kate Beckinsale – yum double treat! You get, new for the story, robotic soldiers which look mean and awesome. The head villain Chancellor Vilos Cohaagen, played by Bryan Cranston, is unconvincing in his evilness and also him fighting with Doug Quaid/Carl Hauser looks like a huge mismatch. The Michael Ironside character is hugely missed in this film and his absence makes Beckinsale’s Lori have to play faking wife and assassin at the same time, which she does well enough but the absence of an Ironside is felt. Which brings me to the choice of lead – Ethan Hawke has a cameo as Quias/Hauser before plastic surgery changed him to look like the movie’s hero Colin Farrell. I just can’t stand him and his acting and the only reason I watched this movie is because of the remake factor. He is a poor substitute for Arnold Schwarzenegger (who can barely act but is a physical presence). I read that Michael Fassbender was on the sort list to play the role and felt he would have done a much better job. But then anyone for me would have done a better job than Farrell.

7 outta 10!

RIP Michael Ansara

Usually the “Recent Deaths” section of Wikipedia is something that I check on a daily basis but somehow I missed this one. Actor Michael Ansara, a busy and widely recognizable character actor who was best known for portraying American Indians and later a Klingon in three different ‚ÄúStar Trek‚ÄĚ series, died on Wednesday at his home in Calabasas, California. Ansara was born in a small village in¬†Syria, and his family emigrated to the United States when he was two years old, initially living in Massachusetts before settling in California.¬†He originally wanted to be a physician but developed a passion for becoming a performer after he began taking acting classes to overcome his shyness.

During the 1950s, Ansara appeared in several episodes of¬†Alfred Hitchcock Presents and as a villain in Abbott & Costello Meet The Mummy. It was the popular TV series¬†Broken Arrow¬†(1956), wherein he played the lead role of¬†Cochise, that raised Ansara’s profile and made him a household name. While making the series, the¬†20th Century-Fox¬†publicity department arranged a date between Ansara and actress¬†Barbara Eden. The two later married and Ansara guest starred on Eden’s¬†I Dream of Jeannie series as the Blue Djinn, who had imprisoned Jeannie in a bottle. He also played¬†King Kamehameha¬†in the Jeannie episode “The Battle of Waikiki” and in the final season he played Major Biff Jellico in another episode. Michael Ansara and Barbara Eden divorced in 1974. The couple had one son together, actor¬†Matthew Ansara, who died on June 25, 2001, of a¬†heroin¬†overdose.

Ansara starred in his own ABC-TV series,¬†Law of the Plainsman¬†(1959‚Äď60) as an Apache Indian named¬†Sam Buckhart¬†who had been appointed as a U.S.¬†Marshal. He played Judas in The Robe, Miguel Alvarez in the film¬†Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and in the Elvis Presley movie Harum Scarum. In 1976, he starred in the movie¬†Mohammad, Messenger of God¬†(also titled¬†The Message), about the origin of Islam and the message of prophet Mohammad. He also played Killer Kane in in the 1979-1980 season of¬†Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. However he will forever be known in Star Trek & science fiction loreas one of the original Klingons, Kang.¬† Ansara is one of seven actors to play the same character (in his case the Klingon commander¬†Kang) on three different¬†Star Trek¬†TV series¬†‚Äď the original series (Day of the Dove),¬†Deep Space Nine (Blood Oath) and¬†Voyager¬†(Flashback). Ansara also played¬†Lwaxana Troi’s husband Jeyal on the¬†Deep Space Nine¬†episode, “The Muse”.

He was married 3 times; to Jean Byron, Eden and he married Beverly Kushida in 1977. On June 25, 2001, his son Matthew died from a drug overdose in Monrovia, California. Ansara lately resided in Calabasas, California and died after a long illness.

Michael Ansara¬†(April 15, 1922 ‚Äď July 31, 2013)