I have not seen the original film, so this was fresh to me. I say fresh, but the central idea of a journey to discover who I really am is not a new one for cinema and certainly not new at all within the annals of science fiction. To me, the film was a cross between V for Vendetta and The Matrix (both Wachowski Brothers films) which borrowed visual elements from Bladerunner, Minority Report, Star Wars and hosts of other near-future dystopian sci-fi films.
The story explores two central questions:
- How do I know what is real?
- "Man's [sic] destiny is to discover who he truly is."
Following a global war with biological weapons the only two areas of the world that are inhabitable are the UK and Australia. Workers live in Australia and commute through a giant tube train through the earth to the antipodes. The work is boring and unfulfilling and population densities are very high. The concept that gives rise to the title comes from an agency who offer to implant your mind with constructed memories that will seem real. These escapist memories of a perfect/alternative life offer people the opportunity to break out from the drudgery of daily life. There's also the threat of clone wars too!
So, a story about the oppressed and the oppressors offers a platform for the exploration of philosophical questions and for Kate Beckinsale (Lori) and Jessica Biel (Melina) to pursue the lead character Douglas Quaid/Hauser played by Colin Farrell. Oh - did I mention the girl with three breasts?
As a non-stop action film this delivers a lot. Not a lot of variety but a lot of ass-kicking. As a vehicle for philosophical exploration it falls short of what it might have been - disappointing. Not as good as it should have been - I'll give it 6.5/10.