Welcome to Thursday Trailer Face-Off, a feature in which we cast a critical eye on two similar upcoming film releases, pitting them against each other across a variety of categories to determine which is most deserving of your two hours. This week: Lockout vs. Total Recall, two films in which action stars have to fight for their identities in all-too-familiar future societies.
PremiseIn Lockout, Guy Pearce plays an ex-G-man on a quest for acquittal after he’s wrongly convicted of treason. All dude has to do is rescue the President’s daughter (Maggie Grace) from an orbiting space prison populated by rioting lunatics with ill-placed tattoos. Done.
A remake of the 1990 Governator-starring blockbuster, Total Recall follows Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell), a man of the future whose memory is erased during a drug-induced mind vacation gone wrong. Is he a construction worker or an enemy operative from Mars out to destroy an Earth corrupted by mass corporatization?
Give it up, Guy. Based on Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale,” Total Recall automatically contains some pretty compelling themes, and director Paul Verhoeven’s original stood as an excellent visual roadmap for the remake. Lockout, however, seems to be a witches’ brew comprised of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s collective “filmography.”Advantage: Total Recall
Director Lockout co-directors/writers James Mather and Stephen St. Leger have an easy-to-type résumé, as they each got their first and only taste of directing during the production of a 2004 short film called Prey Alone. At least they’re bros.
Conversely, Len Wiseman has five features under his belt, including two installments of the Underworld franchise (those count, right?) and 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard. Infinite cool points for working with Bruce Willis, and thus the edge.Advantage: Total Recall
Lead ActorColin Farrell has never been able to play the “aw shucks”-hero types, and guess what? He’s trying it again with Quaid. And though Guy Pearce may have gotten less-than-quality material to work with, his character seems, at the very least, entertaining. He shoots guys, he cracks jokes, he jumps from spacecraft to spacecraft. Farrell mopes, shoots guys, stares awestruck at his trembling hands, and then mopes some more. Advantage: Lockout
Lead ActressBoth Kate Beckinsale (surprise!) and Jessica Biel get screen time in Wiseman’s Total Recall, each representing one of Quaid’s possible realities. Maggie Grace plays Emily Warnock (the Commander-in-Chief’s daughter) in Lockout, a role central to the film’s overall purpose, whatever that may be. Beckinsale and Biel may make for flashier tandem leads, but Grace’s importance in terms of story arc gives her the edge. The space fugitives seem to dig her, as well.Advantage: Lockout
The FutureAccording to Mather and St. Ledger, the United States still exists, cars fly, prisons are space shuttles, and Guy Pearce will rescue us anytime he gets in a jam with cops. Wiseman’s future isn’t too different—other than the fact that Euroamerica has replaced the US, modern society has yielded to greedy businessmen, and our survival lies solely in the hands of Colin Farrell. Yeah, no.Advantage: Lockout
Bod ModsApparently, tattoos are huge in the future, as no fewer than 5,000 (we counted!) appear during the combined length of these trailers. In terms of quality, this is really a toss-up. We’ll give it to the guy with skeleton teeth tattooed onto his lips in Lockout – we’ve seen worse lip tats in our day.Advantage: Lockout
VerdictThe original Total Recall is a pretty fantastic film, and therefore, shouldn’t be remade—especially if Colin Farrell plans to drop by the set. Mather and St. Ledger may be releasing a mix-tape of action movie clichés but who cares? They’re young and we’re stupid, when we want to be. Room to grow, people.The Winner: Lockout