The original ''Total Recall'' is one of the smartest movies Arnold Schwarzenegger ever made.
That may sound like faint praise nestled among ''Kindergarten Cop,'' ''Jingle All the Way'' and ''Batman and Robin,'' but the 1990 film was a sci-fi mind bender that mixed some intellectual grist between the over-the-top action.
And even Ah-nuld would admit that Colin Farrell is a better actor than he is, someone capable of expressing the torture of a character who no longer knows who he is and no longer can trust the motives of those around him.
So how did they add a smarter central character and end up with a much dumber movie?
Farrell may be better than Schwarzenegger, but director Len Wiseman is no Paul Verhoeven. The remake of ''Total Recall'' reduces the story to one endless chase that plays out in different futuristic locations. I've said this before, but the movie is like watching someone else play a video game.
In this loose adaptation of Philip K. Dick's ''We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,'' most of the planet is uninhabitable, leaving only a section of Europe, a power enclave now known as the United Federation of Britain, and Australia, where the working class and poor are housed in a land now known as The Colony.
WHAT: ''Total Recall''
STARS: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, Bill Nighy and John Cho
STORYLINE: In a bleak futuristic world, a man haunted by nightmares goes for an experimental procedure that will implant new memories only to discover his boring life is a fraud and he really is a secret agent. Or is he?
DIRECTOR: Len Wiseman
RATING: PG-13 for intense sequence of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity and language.
Colony worker Douglas Quaid (Farrell) is haunted by very realistic nightmares where he is racing from deadly soldiers with an unknown woman, and he decides to shake these bad dreams by visiting Rekall, a place that claims it can implant new memories that will make customers believe their wildest fantasies have come true.
But something goes wrong when the process starts, and Quaid is told the life he thinks he's leading is a lie, and he really is a double agent in a war between the UFB government and the Resistance, which is fighting for the rights of those in The Colony.
His wife (Kate Beckinsale) and friends becomes his enemies, and the woman (Jessica Biel) from his nightmares shows up as a resistance fighter needing his help. What is real? What is fake? Who can be trusted?
The movie doesn't really seem to care. Instead, Quaid (or is it Hauser?) goes from one fight or chase to the next - a martial arts style brawl with his wife, a shoot out with robots that look vaguely like ''Star Wars'' stormtroopers with different helmets, a chase where he has to avoid bullets as well as fast-moving elevators that move horizontally and vertically. It's just like completing different levels on a video game.
There are occasional breaks in the screenplay by Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback for a hint of existential mumbo jumbo from Resistance leader Matthias (Bill Nighy) - ''The past is a construct of the mind; the heart lives in the present.'' But mostly it's just running and shootouts.
The movie doesn't spend enough time developing any of the characters to really care about the heroes or hate the villains.
Wiseman, who is married to Beckinsale and directed her in the first two ''Underworld'' movies, is adept with the action without delivering anything audiences haven't seen before. He's made a movie about memories that is instantly forgettable.