Both these films have finally hit DVD and finally I can discover why both films underperformed. The answer is sadly easy to find. They are both boring. No doubt as a result of both films being remakes of more.. *ahem* flamboyant versions, the creators decided to reign things in.
Total Recall at has a couple of scenes to help us remember the earlier film. Yes Virginia there is a three titty hooker. It also has the neatest mass transit vehicle ever, a huge vessel that travels through the center of the earth. It is NOT however set on Mars (Hollywood hates Mars remember) and that makes the plot even more inane than the original. In this version everything on Earth is a sterile wasteland except for Austrailia and England. Yeah, that's going to happen. Anyway, as I said the main problem is that it bores. The main character is so underplayed that he's more boy band material than Ahnold kick assery. The film looks great it just doesn't deliver.
Dredd is pretty much the same. All the earth is a wasteland except one city, but it's a durn BIG city. It's a wild place and the only law are the Judges who are as you may guess are police, judges, and executioners all rolled up into one. Dredd is the most hardcore judge of them all and so he's asked to take a wet behind the ear newbie who happens to be a psychic and teach her the ropes. Meanwhile, an evil gang is pushing a new drup that makes time seem to slow down. The movie shows us this again, and again, a n d a g a i n. Look I'm a fan of bullet time like everyone else, but if you are going to shot an entire film in slow motion it's a bit of a stretch then to call it an "action" film. But like Total Recall the main problem is that the character of Dredd has all the charisma of cabbage with a helmet. It takes a lot people to make me pine for the days of Stallone crying out, "AHHHH AM DUH COLSLAW!"