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Two action movies from this summer have found their way to Blu-ray and DVD, and their budgets are in reverse proportion to their quality. Here’s my Blu-ray and DVD video review of the expensive sci-fi remake Total Recall and the more modest Premium Rush.
Colin Farrell takes over the role of the memory-impaired Douglas Quaid from Arnold Schwarzenegger in this straight-up bland remake of the 1990 sci-fi action blockbuster, out on Blu-ray and DVD now. The idea was to take Farrell’s journey from everyman worker to secret agent more seriously than the original film, but by removing the sense of humor, the remake also removed almost all of the fun.
This means that it’s up to Kate Beckinsale, who takes Sharon Stone’s role from the original, to singlehandedly bring the ‘wow’ factor and she does. Alternately menacing and over the top, she brings some much needed energy to a pretty unremarkable film.
Director Len Wiseman lends his voice to the extended director’s cut, while the theatrical cut doesn’t have any commentary, while Total Recall: Insight Mode “delivers scene specific behind the scenes video throughout the movie.”In other words, there’s a bunch of split-screen presentations and discussion of set design, pre-viz special effects, trivia, etc. A bunch of fluffy featurettes close out the special features.
Premium Rush, on the other hand, is a lot of fun and has a few tricks up its sleeve, despite its way smaller budget. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a New York City bike messenger and Michael Shannon is the bad guy who chases him all over the city, trying to get his latest package from him.
Gordon-Levitt is in full-on cocky Top Gun-Maverick mode, and Shannon realizes the ridiculousness of his role and plays it to the hilt. His sense of humor keeps Premium Rush afloat when it takes itself too seriously, and the inventively staged chase scenes make the movie a fun home video diversion in a season of heavy Oscar films.
Director David Koepp and co-screenwriter John Kamps appear in the two very short featurettes that accompany this disappointingly bare bones Blu-ray release of Premium Rush.