This is Law-Kall!
If there’s any reboot that people are bound to flock to this year, it’s The Amazing Spider-Man. Marc Webb’s take on the comic book hero is pulling an Incredible Hulk on us by coming just five years after its spiritual predecessor. Early reviews have been positive enough to guarantee that, unless it happens to bomb worse than Raimi’s castration of Venom, we’ll see at least one sequel.
But while Spider-Man joins Batman and the Avengers for the summertime superhero infestation, two films set for a later release have caught my eyes.
First we have the remake of Total Recall, this time seeing Colin Farrell follow up Arnie’s role from the 1990 version. Like most of the reboots and updates we’ve seen, Len Wiseman’s Total Recall looks darkly dystopian. So no, it hardly looks any different from all the other films that have ripped off Blade Runner for the past 30 years. But if we were sick of the same things, film and sports would be as dead as knock knock jokes. And let’s be honest, good as the original Total Recall was, it hasn’t exactly aged well; not to mention the fact it’s an above average mill of one-liners. Though I’m not anticipating this to be to Philip K. Dick’s story as The Dark Knight is to Batman, a modernization doesn’t seem as pointless as many other recent sequels, remakes and spin-offs. The remake looks more level-headed to say the least, and though Farrell wouldn’t be my first choice, he can do well with the right material and director. Although I don’t think anything he does in the future will top Phone Booth.
Based on the trailer, the Rekall place Farrell visits might not be directly in-line with the people hunting him down. This could make for a small scene versus business dynamic, but knowing the source material it’ll probably wind up being one of those double agent (or double company?) scenarios. Either way, I hope we get some creative divergences from the original. In particular, I’d like to see a twist to the original ending.
Then we have the remake of 1995’s infamous Judge Dredd adaptation. The remake’s clever, shortened name? Dredd. Does this mean the film itself will be half as long? Now if one of these sci-fi films will truly benefit from a newer, darker look, it’s definitely Judge Dredd. There were two things Total Recall definitely had over Judge Dredd: the story actually required paying a bit of attention and it managed to be good in spite of the one-liners. Even with the slated September release date, we hardly got a poster of Dredd until recently. Now that we (finally) have a full-fledged trailer, we can see just how different and similar the film is simultaneously. On one hand, we should be getting a more investible environment and story here. And on the other it looks just like–you guessed it: any other Blade Runner inspired film. One of the many things comic book fans weren’t so fond of in Judge Dredd was the fact Stallone took off the mask/helmet (we’ll call it a masket). This time, however, Karl Urban of Star Trek, Doom and The Lord of the Rings will play judge, jury and executioner with the word being his masket never comes off.
One potential qualm I already have with the film is that I’ll always be able to tell Urban is acting, since he’s clearly trying to gruff up his voice. But hey, it’s a step up from Stallone’s “law” and “I knew you’d say that” deliveries. Beyond that, we have the usual mix of incredible technology but slum-ridden cities for the setting. The drug used in the film (literally called “SLO-MO”) will probably appeal to some of the more…laid back audience members. What I’m most curious about, as one who never read the comics, is how identifying with the characters will play out. Just from the costume design, the judges scream symbolism of the law’s power, which not everyone is always so fond of. And yet the people they’re against are being played up as the antagonists, so it might make for an interesting anti-hero scenario.
I doubt either film will leave a particularly big splash at the box office, especially since, after The Dark Knight Rises, our wallets will likely be gasping. But in a summer littered with comic book superheroes and stale comedies, I’m up for a bit of standard, decent sci-fi flair.
Which do you think will stand above the other?