Film reviews: Totall Recall (12A) | A Few Best Men (15)

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IN the late 21st century, Earth is a radioactive wasteland apart from two outposts on opposite sides of the planet: the prosperous United Federation of Britain ruled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) and the polluted, rain-saturated Colony, home to millions of workers and the underground resistance led by Matthias (Bill Nighy).

Factory worker Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) lives in this hellhole with his wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale) and travels to work in the UFB with best friend Harry (Bokeem Woodbine) via The Fall: a giant elevator running close to the Earth’s core which links the two settlements.

Unfulfilled and frustrated, Doug visits Rekall, a shadowy company which promises to realise clients’ dreams by implanting artificial memories.

Shortly before the procedure, Rekall technician McClane (John Cho) discovers that Doug’s memory has been wiped. In the blink of an eye, the factory worker’s world implodes...

Total Recall is bombastic fun as long as you submit to the gargantuan leaps in logic.

Len Wiseman directs set pieces with aplomb, barely pausing for breath as preposterous twist follows outrageous turn. Fans of the Arnold Schwarzenegger version may be two steps but directorial brio and eye-popping special effects hold the interest when there is nothing on screen to fire our little grey cells.

Rating: * * *

A Few Best Men

WEDDINGS bring out the best and worst of human nature.

The volatile cocktail of alcohol and anticipation, tinged with excitement and regret, sparks an outpouring of heartfelt and sometimes painful emotion.

A Few Best Men witnesses the devastation when an English lad and an Australian girl decide to tie the knot and bring together their dysfunctional clans from opposite sides of the world.

Cultures clash with dire consequences jeopardising the fledgling relationship before the ink has dried on the marriage certificate.

Screenwriter Dean Craig takes inspiration from The Hangover, condemning his four beleaguered heroes to suffer manifold indignities, including one man trying his hand - ahem - as a veterinarian to remove cocaine-filled condoms from the lower tract of a merino sheep.

There is scant rhyme or reason to many of the potty-mouthed interludes, such as one character growing a Hitler moustache, but Stephan Elliott’s film manages to milk generous laughs from the characters’ misery.

Xavier Samuel and Laura Brent are a sweet yet bland couple - a perfect on-screen match - while Kris Marshall and Kevin Bishop take it in turns to play the jester, their tomfoolery transforming Olivia Newton-John’s uptight matriarch into a fun-loving, drug-fuelled vamp.

Rating: * * *