Hollywood has been stuck in remake mode for years now, but recently they seem particularly focused on remaking the filmography of one particular guy: Dutch director Paul Verhoeven. This past summer saw a new version of Total Recall starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston. In February 2014, we’ll get to see director Jose Padilha’s take on Verhoeven’s RoboCop. There’s also a new version of Starship Troopers, based on the novel by Robert Heinlein, and which Verhoeven adapted into a campy, mega-violent film back in 1997. If you’re Paul Verhoeven, I’m not sure whether all these would seem like a compliment or a slap in the face. Thankfully, somebody decided to ask him.
The Playlist recently interviewed Verhoeven and took the time to ask him about all the remakes of his films. Asked about this past summer’s lackluster Total Recall remake, Verhoeven points out that “critics were a lot more complimentary to me and Arnold about the original after the remake came out than they had been been before it.” That’s a spot-on assessment of the differences between the two Total Recalls in my opinion. The remake was slick and pretty, but stripped of all the corniness and the outright weirdness of Verhoeven’s original, it just felt like a hollow and tedious exercise. The original Total Recall is batshit insane in a thousand different ways, but if you strip out all the Schwarzenegger one-liners and three-breasted hookers and psychic conjoined twins and ancient Martian terraforming machines, it turns out you’re left with not much. Watching the remake just made me appreciate the first Total Recall even more.