Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Movie Review: Premiun Rush (PG13 - 91 minutes)

The last great cycling movie I saw was....hmmm...Okay, I don't remember ever seeing any great cycling movies.  To be honest, I didn't even watch that much cycling with the London 2012 games this summer.  I did watch some of the Velodrome races, with the solid wheel and the weird helmets and the no brakes; I also watched some of the mountain biking competitions, which were insane.
When I went into Premium Rush, the latest movie from Director David Koepp, I'm not sure what I was expecting.  JGL being awesome, an early look at new Zod, and the return of X3/Heroes's Dania Ramirez were all pieces, but aside from that, I didn't really have any expectations.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that if you are really into the New York City bicycle-messenger sub-culture, then this is your movie!  If you are not all that into the New York City bicycle-messenger sub-culture, I'm guessing you'll be entertained, but not overwhelmingly so.   Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Wilee (as in coyote), a bike messenger who "rides like he has a death wish."  His voice-over repeatedly states "I like to ride. Fixed gear. No brakes. Can't stop. Don't want to, either."  I felt like he said that 12 times, but that may be an exaggeration.  Wilee apparently has dropped out of law school because he can't do 'the suit thing', and is loving his life as a messenger.  He picks up an envelope at 5:33 from Jamie Chung, which must be delivered across town by 7:00 pm.  Unbeknownst to him, a dirty cop, played by Michael Shannon, is also after the envelope.  This results in the chase sequence that lasts all movie.  Well, that's not entirely true.  The movie is a bit non-linear, cutting back and forth in time to provide backstory on Wilee, Chung's character, the other bike messengers, the cop, and even the envelope. 
David Koepp directs the movie at a consistent level of pace that is constantly moving.  It is always go, go, GO.  That's fine, and makes for good action, but also never gives you time to relax, and because the entire movie is at that pace, really, the climax is almost anti-climatic.  Koepp has previously done Ghost Town, Secret Window, Trigger Effect, and Stir of Echoes.  Secret Window was a Johnny Depp movie in which he's a writer who goes crazy and is stalked by (or is he?) John Tuturro with a bad southern accent and an even worse hat.  Because, let's be honest, when you go crazy - you are stalked by John Tuturro.  I have also seen Stir of Echoes, and both of these movies are more quiet, more still, and do not bear much resemblance to Premium Rush.  So Koepp appears to be breaking out of his box with this movie.
Everything is in motion in this movie from the very beginning.  There are some very cool sequences that overlay a map on the city - which happens every time a messenger needs to get from A to B - so perhaps could have been used a little less.  I also enjoyed the style choice of having Wilee approach a situation, and use his bike-messenger super power of slow-mo vision to run three scenarios of where to ride his bike and what would happen to him.  For example, he approaches an intersection - he looks left, envisions himself riding that way, only to crash into a jogger.  He looks center - no, collides with a taxi.  He looks to the right and sees a clear path on the sidewalk, check - rides to the right.  That is cool - the first time you see it, but again, it's overused a little.
The cast is believable and entertaining:
  • Joseph Gordon Levitt again does a good job.  It's an interesting choice for him compared to some of his other choices lately.  Between the Dark Knight, this and Looper - he's having quite a year.  Incidentally, he took this movie pretty seriously, doing as much of his own riding as possible, to the point that he crashed into a taxi and had to get 31 stitches, they play that over the credits at the end of the movie.  He plays Wilee convincingly, with just the right touch of snark, and boy does he love to ride!  Or so he says over and over again while attempting to woo a fellow messenger - or maybe re-woo? 
  • Dania Ramierez plays the object of woo, a fellow messenger who rides equally fast and furious, but does put a brake on her bike.  This leads to a "brakes are death" discussion that I really didn't understand - but again, I am not a bike messenger.  She may or may not be still into Wilee, and she may or may not be attempting to make him jealous with another messenger.  She's fine in this - but really it just made me want to watch X3 again, to see Halle Berry electrocute her.
  • Wole Parks, previously seen in a bunch of New York TV shows (Gossip Girl, Law-n-Order), makes his film debut as Manny - who is the new up and coming hotness in terms of bike messengers.  His bike has fancy gears and brakes, and he's faster and prettier than everyone else - according to him anyway.  I also enjoy that he answers his phone, "Manny's office, this is Manny speaking" while riding his bike.  He's the main foil for Wilee - he's constantly hitting on Wilee's girl, he's constantly bragging that he's faster than Wilee, he's taking some of Wilee's deliveries, he's insulting Wilee's bike (not his bike!?!). 
  • Daily Show correspondant Aasif Mandvi must have had some time off this summer to be in this movie as the Bike Messenger service owner/coordinator.  He's the guy who answers the phone and tells the messengers where to go and when.
  • As mentioned, Jamie Chung plays Nima, the woman with the envelope who starts off this chain reaction of madness.  Her character is a Chinese immigrant here on a student visa (listen to Jamie fake a chinese accent), who has to secretly get money across town to - well, I suppose I shouldn't tell you, that being the big secret and all.  Nima is also a friend of Wilee's because she is Dania's roommate and also works at the law school where Wilee went.  It's a little confusing.  She has less to do here than she did in Suckerpunch...let me take this opportunity to say if you haven't seen Suckerpunch, you're one of the lucky ones and please don't.  Ever.
  • Anthony Chisholm plays an older bike messenger who seems to be in the movie to be made fun of, and to say his catchphrase: "People take heed!"  Well, he only says it twice, so maybe it's not a catchphrase...
  • Christopher Place plays a beleaguered bike cop.  It's a small role, but I'm mentioning him because he is hilarious in the pieces that he has. 
  • The reason to see this movie is Michael Shannon.  Not just because you're curious about him before he plays Zod in the new Superman next year, but because he is an Oscar nominated actor (it was for Revolutionary Road - no, I didn't see that either).  He's the villian in this and really chews into all the scenery, which is difficult, because it's always moving past very quickly.  His dirty cop is slimy and dispicable and watchable. 
So overall - it's an entertaining movie - pretty fun, decently put together.  Good, but not great.  I think however, if you are a bike messenger in New York City - or simply really into that lifestyle, you'll love this.  That is of course, if you haven't already gotten your fill from the documentary Triple Rush which is also about bike messengers and was filmed at the same time, using many of the same extras - so that messenger flash mob at the end?  All real bike messengers. 
6 out of 10.  Gained points for the slick camera tricks that made me feel like I was riding the bike.  Also lost points for that - as it went on, it got closer to making me nauseous.  Gained points for Wole Parks - he was fun.  Lost points for Nima showing up at the place where Wilee was supposed to deliver the envelope to, right after he delivered it - which was just after 7:00 pm, which of course was the climax of the movie.  So - why couldn't she have just taken it there herself?

Bonus Video 1: Some Random Velodrome action - seriously, the Individual Pursuit is one of the most bizarre sports ever, only to be outdone by the team pursuit.
Bonus Video 2: The first part of the first episode of Third Rock From the Sun - in case you forgot where JGL started...
Bonus Video 3:  ...and then there's Angels in the Outfield:
Bonus Video 4:  Cast interviews!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Movie Review: The Campaign (85 minutes - R)

I love the old ZAZ (Zucker, Abrams, and Zucker) production team comedies.  They were from here in Milwaukee, and their comedies were absolutely hilarious.  Even if you don't know them, you know their movies:  Airplane, Naked Gun, Hot Shots, and my favorite, Top Secret:
"Yes, I know a little German....and he's sitting right over there!"  Hilarious.  Rent that now.

Most current comedies are tough for me to get on board with - I don't think dirty jokes for the sake of dirty jokes are funny...I'd much prefer clever funny.  And I don't particularly care for slapstick.  So, more precisely, maybe my taste is comedies is very particular.  Or, even more precisely, maybe I can only tolerate Will Farrell in smaller doses, or in movies where he is surrounded by supporting characters who are equally funny and bizarre.  Anchorman would be the best example of this:
It's not that I don't find Will Ferrell funny - it's that I find him funny for about 10 minutes...then I don't anymore.  In The Campaign, a timely comedy from Jay Roach (Dinner for Schmucks, all the Austin Powers movies, all the Meet the Parents movies) Farrell and Zach Galifinakis square off running for Congressman from North Carolina.

Farrell's Cam Brady is an incombent congressman from North Carolina's 14th district who has been running unopposed for many years.  He slips up - leaves an R rated message on the answering machine of a very conservative family while he thinks that he is calling his mistress - and so the billionaire brothers who were backing him decide to look elsewhere for a puppet they can control.  They settle on mild-mannered Marty Huggins, who is currently running the tourisim center in town.  Marty is gentle and good natured, and wants to help the town.  The brothers want to control the district to sell it to China = insourcing.  Cam gets upset that he finally has competition, causing the campaign to get dirty.  Hijinks ensue.  Marty starts out wanting to make his father proud, and make the town better, Cam eventually comes to a realization what he truly cares about, and the rich brothers get their comeuppance.
The cast is small - and most of them are very entertaining.
  • Will Farrell as Cam Brady is good, but again, feels a little like an SNL sketch you've seen him do already.  And he's funny, no doubt, but I just got a little tired of him.
  • Zach Galifinakis is very funny - again, playing a character we've seen him do in his standup routine.  He does manage to bring a touch of sweetness to Marty.
  • Dylan McDermott plays the dirty campaign manager.  Who knew Dylan McDermott could be funny?  He does play this very straight, and very dark - and the list of his characters nicknames during the scene that plays over the credits is hilarious.
  • Jason Sudekis plays Cam's campaign manager, and is very funny when trying to get Farrell under wraps.  The more out of control Farrell gets, the more toned down Sudekis's performance gets, and that made me just want to watch the gag reel of the two of them together.
  • Dan Ackroyd and John Lithgow play the old rich brothers.  They were fine, and decently funny, but for some reason - looking at them in their mansion setting made me want to watch Trading Places.  If you haven't seen that in a while - rent it now.  Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy team up with Jamie Lee Curtis.  It's genius.
  • Brian Cox plays Marty's dad and has almost nothing to do - but is pretty funny in the scenes that he has, in particular with Karen Maruyama's housekeeper.  She was far and away my favorite part of this movie.  Very not PC, but very funny!
This movie is funny - and if you are a Will Farrell fan, or a Zach Galifinakis fan, or a fan of Jay Roach's other movies...you'll love it.  The funny parts are all in the commercials - just with cursing and inappropriate stuff added in the movie itself, because it is rated R.  Interestingly enough, I'm not sure it needed to be rated R.  None of those items made it any funnier, just earned the R.  It could have been equally as funny without them, and may had made more room for more clever jokes, and less dirty jokes...The story is simple, which is not a bad thing, and does wrap up neatly, with some heart and a good payoff.  It's not my favorite - but I think most people will like it.
6 out of 10.  Lost points for Farrell's character having sex in a port-o-john in the beginning of the movie, really?  Gained points for Sudekis and McDermott as the campaign managers - they were both great.  Lost points for the random nipple...I'm not even sure what that was about or why it was necessary.  Gained points for having the dog from the Artist show up - random...geez did I hate the movie The Artist.  I suppose they should lost some points for reminding me of that...
Bonus Video 1:  Hot Shots...second favorite ZAZ movie:
Bonus Video 2:  Airplane...maybe this is my second favorite ZAZ movie:  Surely you can't be serious...
Bonus Video 3: "Between 2 Ferns with Zach Galifinakis". Zach's fake interview show - it's just hilarious...there's a ton of them, go watch them all.
Bonus Video 4:  Cast Interviews!



Monday, August 20, 2012

Movie Review: The Expendables 2 (R - 102 minutes)

I have a great deal of love for the larger than life action movies of the 80s and 90s.  The trend was a giant hero, maybe a sidekick or two, a vicious bad guy with some sort of personal connection to the good guy, a bar fight, and a huge climax with lots of 'spolsions.  The stars of these movies were big dudes, with believable fight skills and a dry sense of humor.  My absolute favorite of these is Showdown in Little Tokyo - starring Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee. 
Incidentally - the dude who cuts off his own finger in the trailer above is Simon Rhee, who went on to play the eye-patched Dae-Han in Best of the Best (my second favorite) which starred his brother Phillip Rhee as Tommy, Eric Roberts as Alex, Chris Penn, John Dye, Sally Kirkland, and James Earl Jones - who gives an amazing "I only have two rules..." speech.

When the late 90s rolled into the 2000s, the trend in action movies, led by the likes of the Bourne Identity in 2002, shifted to more 'everyman' style heroes with 'smarter', more intelligent stories with better actors. 
In 2010, Slyvester Stallone, who wrote and directed some of the biggest of those old fashioned action movies (Rocky, First Blood, etc.) decided he missed those old action movies, and his old action movie buddies.  Knowing that was where his career started, and knowing there was still an audience out there for that style of movie, he wrote The Expendables, and started calling his friends and former co-stars.  He put together an absolute blast of a throwback action movie that co-starred Dolph Lundgren (who worked with Stallone in Rocky 4), Jet Li (who had built up an impressive action career in China, and briefly worked with Randy Couture in Cradle 2 tha Grave), Jason Statham (who worked with Jet Li in The One and War), Eric Roberts (who worked with Stallone in The Specialist), Gary Daniels, Mickey Rourke (who worked with Stallone in Get Carter), WWE star 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, former NFL player Terry Crews, and MMA legend Randy Couture (another aside - whenever any star of the movie was asked the inevitable "who would win in a fight out of all of you?" question, each star always answered Couture, except Couture, who would usually shrug - probably because he knew he would win).  It also featured a scene with Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the three action star friends who had co-founded Planet Hollywood together, but had never appeared on screen together.
Before they finished filming the first one - they started talking sequel.  Essentially the movie was a love letter to all the fans of the big time action movies - and it performed well, and was absolutely a great movie with lots of little tongue-in-cheek humor and great 'spolsions.  No barfight though, I did miss that part.  That brings us up to date, and to the Expendables 2.
This one brings back all of the cast from the first one - except the bad guys who got killed, and Rourke, who had a filming conflict.  Added to the mix this time are Jean-Claude Van Damme (who worked with Lundgren in Universal Soldier, and who turned down Stallone to appear in the first one - Stallone called him to tell him he made a mistake after the first one premiered - Van Damme agreed and jumped at the chance to be in the sequel), Liam Hemsworth (ummm...what?), Scott Adkins (who has worked with Van Damme 4 times), Nan Yu (a big star in China), and Chuck Norris (who destroyed the periodic table, because the only element he recognizes is the element of surprise!  That's my favorite, you can insert your favorite Chuck Norris fact here.)  Willis and Schwarzenegger are both back with bigger parts. 
In terms of plot - yes, there is one, but you can probably guess it.  Stallone again plays Barney Ross, leader of his merry band of mercenaries, the Expendables, who all return, with the addition of a sniper, Hemsworth's character.  The movie opens with them on a mission to rescue a hostage, who Schwarzenegger's Trent character is already trying to rescue.  They complete the mission, only to come back home and encounter Willis's CIA agent who has another mission for them - or else.  They take it - it goes wrong, and Van Damme's bad guy, named Jean Vilian (get it?) takes what they were sent after and does something that makes them all angry.  I won't spoil it for you, but it involves him killing someone.  They set out for revenge...as Stallone puts it, "track 'em, find 'em, kill 'em."  'Spolsions, amazing action sequences, and one liners ensue. 
And oh, the one liners!  There are many of them in this movie, many more than in the first - and as often as I wanted to roll my eyes at them - honestly, I loved every single one!  The best is the scene with Willis and Schwarzenegger, where they end up in the Smart Car.  Outstanding.
Castwise, what can you say?  Everyone is great:
  • Slyvester Stallone wrote and produced this one, but left the directing to Simon West, who has done tons of action movies (Con Air, The General's Daughter, Tomb Raider, The Mechanic).  He does a great job here, and Stallone has said that he felt much more relaxed on this one, not having to direct as well as act.  He looks old and tough, and works that aged determinedness into Ross.
  • Statham is fantastic fun with Charisma Carpenter returning as his girlfriend.  Statham's character is the knife expert of the group, and he brings more of his tough cockney swagger.
  • Dolph Lundgren returns as Gunnar, the mad Swede, and gets a little more to do this time around.  They even mix in some of his own personal backstory - chemical engineering degree from MIT and a Fullbright scholar.  He also gets more charming interaction with Jet Li.
  • Jet Li's role is reduced a bit in this one, I am wondering if he was tied up in something else.  His character, YinYang, was super fun in the first one and has a few fun scenes in this one too - battling bad guys with a frying pan.
  • Terry Crews again brings humor to his Hale Ceaser, needed while the other guys get serious. 
  • Randy Couture, who stole a scene in the first movie while discussing his ear, again plays the zen member of the group, Toll Road.  He seems very natural and fits in great with these guys.
  • Nan Yu plays the female adventurer in the crew - she's done many movies in China, and I would assume she has some fighting skill, but unfortunately, she does not get much of a chance to show it off.
  • Chuck Norris shows up briefly to shoot some things, and pretty much plays Chuck Norris - incidentally, he's the oldest of the cast members at 72, if you can believe that. 
  • Bruce Willis and Arnold also pretty much play themselves, and also get to argue and shoot some guys.  They look like they are having an amazing time.
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme is really good as the bad guy.  Although he did play the villian several times early in his career, I don't remember it, unless you count the one twin in Double Impact, who ended up being good anyway.  He should do it more often, because he's great at it.  He chews the scenery a bit - but it works in this!
The best part about the cast is that it makes me ponder who I want in the next one.  Steven Seagal is a must, Wesley Snipes would be good, Danny Trejo is another one, Nicholas Cage is already signed, Michael Jai White, Tiny Lister maybe?  All I know is that I can't wait!
So go see it - it reminds me of all those classic action movies, and it's as good as the first, but with a much higher cheese level!
9 out of 10:  Lost points for having a female character this time, but still not really giving her anything to do, well, a little - but I'm still looking for the third one to have Cynthia Rothrock level badassness from a chick.  Gained points for the one-liners:  cheesy and awesome.  Lost points for any close up of Couture showing that ear...just keep it out of camera.  Gained points for Van Damme, he was always one of my favorites (If you haven't seen JCVD - netflix it now)!
Bonus Video 1:  More of my favorites:  Universal Solider - by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, before they did Stargate and Independence Day.  Dolph and Jean-Claude, also featuring Simon Rhee again!
Bonus Video 2:  The One - Jet Li and Jason Statham - in which Jet Li travels throughout the multiverse killing other Jet Lis to become the One Jet Li, which will make him stronger.  Statham plays a cop partnered with Delroy Lindo trying to stop him.
Bonus Video 3:  The Running Man - Arnold is wrongfully accused of a crime and competes on a game show featuring convicts fighting various trained killers to escape - featuring Yaphet Kotto and Jesse Ventura (who should also be in Expendables 3).  Not my favorite Arnold movie - that would be Predator, which had been the greatest collection of testosterone filled dudes until the first Expendables came out - Carl Weathers should also be in Expendables 3.

Bonus Video 4:  Cast Interviews!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Movie Review: Total Recall (PG13 - 118 minutes)

Phillip K. Dick was an American short story (mainly sci-fi) writer who died in 1982.  His works focused on sociological, political, and metaphysical themes.  He often had heroes that struggled determining what was real, and what is illusion.  You're sure to have seen at least one movie based on his stories:  Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall - original (1990), Screamers (1995), Minority Report (2002), Paycheck (2003), A Scanner Darkly (2006), Next (2007), The Adjustment Bureau (2011), and now, Total Recall - new version (2012).  
Of these movies, my favorite was Minority Report - directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell - star of new Total Recall.  Murder can be predicted, and cop Tom Cruise arrests people before they commit a crime - awesome, until they get the direction to arrest him, because he's about to kill someone.  He runs - action follows, if you haven't seen it in a while - check it out again, it's really good!
In 1987, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven began what would become a successful American action movie career by directing the movie Robocop, which was going to star Arnold Schwarzenegger.  There were issues with costuming and timing and Arnold ended up not being able to do the movie, Peter Weller did.  However, Arnold saw the movie, loved it, and contacted Verhoeven to say he wanted to work with him and that they should do Total Recall.  Previous to Arnold's involvment, the hero, Doug Quaid, was going to be portrayed as a standard 'everyman' accountant type.  Arnold's idea was that it made more sense to have secret spy Quaid be a large physically intimidating man, to more accurately emphasize the helplessness he feels when he begins to question his memory.
Fast forward to now - and someone decides it's a good idea to remake Total Recall.  Interesting, because the original was actually very well received, was fairly successful both critically and commercially, and won an oscar for visual effects. 
The current remake is by Len Wiseman, who is best known as the directer/writer for Underworld, which resulted in his marriage to Kate Beckinsdale, which results in her being in this movie.  Wiseman came out of the effects/props crew that worked on the Dean Devlin/Roland Emmerich movies, with Patrick Tatopolous, which resulted in Tatopolous directing Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, which also results in Tatopolous being the production designer for this movie.  See how that works?
This version of Total Recall has a very similar plot:  bored assembly line worker Doug Quaid is having nightmares, and goes to visit Rekall - a company that will implant false memories for you.  Say you can't take that amazing vacation to Hawaii, Rekall implants memories of an awesome trip to Hawaii for you - almost as good as going, right?  Well, in any case, while there, Quaid's memory goes berserk - apparently he really is a double agent spy with a wiped memory.  He goes home, tells his wife, she tries to kill him, because she's just keeping tabs on him for her boss, the evil Chancellor Cohaagen.  He goes on the run, and gets aided by Milena, a woman who knew the old him.  Together, they attempt to help him remember who he was, what he was doing, outrun the bad guys, and what steps to take next.  The main differences between this one and the old one is there is no Mars, and there's no mutants.  In place of those things are a chemically destroyed earth and a giant tube transportation through the earth between the only two liveable places left.  Don't worry - the triple-boobed hooker from the original is still there.  And, speaking of triple-boobed hookers, how does a topless triple-boobed hooker make it into a PG13 movie?  I'm just saying....
Wiseman is great at directing action, that goes almost without saying.  The movie looks amazing and the CGI is used well, and it is enhanced by some very impressive sets.  The cast is pretty good too:
  • Colin Farrell as Quaid is fine, he's no Schwarzenegger, but then, who is?  He is talented and has done some good work (my favorite is Intermission - rent that, and SWAT for simple action joy).  In this, he makes Quaid's confusion believable, and does well with the action sequences.  His chemistry with Jessical Biel is not overwhelming.
  • Jessical Biel as Melina takes over the role from Rachel Ticotin in the original.  She's fiesty and serious in her attempts to bring the old Quaid back.  Again, I'm not sure I see any chemistry between her and Farrell, but if you're engaged to Justin Timberlake, then clearly Colin Farrell is not your type.  She's very good at the action, and her fight sequence with Beckinsdale is really really good.  It gives you a bit of an answer to the question of what would happen if Whistler's daughter went up against Selene...
  • Mrs. Wiseman, Kate Beckinsdale, plays the Sharon Stone role, Lori.  Stone impressed Verhoeven so much with her prep for the role originally, he crafted the character in Basic Instinct for her.  In this version, Beckinsdale seems to be the person who is having the most fun, and incidentally, is kicking the most ass.  She's great at action, we know that from the Underworld movies, but this is the first time we've see her really villian out, and she is great at it. 
  • Bryan Cranston, and his terrible wig, plays Cohaagen who was Ronny Cox (from RoboCop) in the first one.  In this day and age, why can they not make a realistic wig?  An even better question, why does Cohaagen need to have hair?  Regardless, Cranston is as good as he usually is, and plays this role with just enough slimy evil.
  • John Cho shows up very briefly dyed blond and running Rekall.  The scene you saw him in the trailer is it - that's all he gets.  But he's entertaining while there.
  • Bill Nighy has less screen time than Cho - and plays the rebel leader Matthias, which would seem to be the "Kuato" of this version.  He has one scene - he's cryptic - then he's gone. 
  • Will Yun Lee has even less screen time and shows up right at the beginning to encourage Quaid to head over to Rekall...I kept feeling like there should have been a bigger payoff for his character, but alas, not to be. 
  • Bokeem Woodbine plays Quaid's friend (or is he?) that encourages him not to go to Rekall.  He's good, but again, doesn't have a lot to do. 
The action sequences are great, which is good, because there are a lot of them.  I especially like the elevator chase sequence.  The spaces between the action sequences are less great, and I found that i really didn't care about any of the characters, and was really just waiting for Beckinsdale to show up and attack everybody.  The plot is interesting, and as twisty as the original, which is always good - but sometimes too complicated is not great; it is possible to make a great action movie with a simple plot, the Expendables will reiterate this idea in a week.  The overly complicated plot here is mainly due to the overly complicated Phillip K. Dick original work, and they did well with it - but not amazing.
6 out of 10 - entertaining, but I don't think I recommend paying full price, but it is fun, and the spectacular look of the movie does deserve to be seen on a big screen.
Bonus Video 1:  Starship Troopers, my all-time favorite Paul Verhoeven movie...rent it, watch it again and pay more attention to the subtle nods to indoctrination and government propaganda...and oh yeah, continued to be grossed out as we get obliterated by giant space bugs.  Also - be cheered as NPH tells you how the brain bug feels! 
Bonus Video 2:  The original Underworld - so fun, stunningly shot, amazing performances from Bill Nighy and Michael Sheen, and fantastic effects both practical and CG!  Incidentally, Kevin Grevioux (he plays the giant Lycan, Raze) has a background in microbiology and came up with the story along with Wiseman.  That should win you a trivia contest someday...
Bonus Video 3:  Total Recall comparison fun:
Bonus Video 4:  Cast Interviews!