DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Total Recall, Blu-ray 2-Disc Set (2012)

One reviewer said this was “Better than the original!” I find him completely wrong.

Published on December 29, 2012

Total Recall, Blu-ray 2-Disc Set (2012)

Both Theatrical and Extended Director’s Cut (20 min. new footage)
Cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bill Nighy
Director: Len Wiseman
Studio: Sony/ Columbia Pictures 40957 (Blu-ray & UltraViolet digital copy) [12/18/12]
Video: 2.40.1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English audio description 2.0, French or Spanish DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: Director’s commentary track, Insight (behind-the-scenes material from the director during the film), “Science Fiction vs. Science Fact,” “Designing the Fall,” Gag reel, Alternate ending, “God of War: Ascension” – PlayStation 3 game demo, “Total Action” – key action & stunt sequences, “Stepping into Recall” – pre-visualization of the fight & chase sequences (all with subtitles in English & Spanish)
Length: Theatrical – 118 min.; Director’s Cut – 130 min.
Rating: ***

One reviewer said this was “Better than the original!” I find him completely wrong; the original Verhoeven Total Recall is my favorite Schwarzenegger film—never mind that Farrell is a better actor and the first director left in some terrible special effects at the end of actors’ eyes popping out. It also had more humor and camp about it. This time the original Philip K. Dick story doesn’t take us to Mars at all, but that doesn’t mean the film isn’t totally overloaded with sci-fi stuff intended to make your eyes pop out.

The basics are that Douglas Quaid is a factory worker who is bored with his job building robots and goes to Rekall, a firm who can briefly implant fantasy lives into the brains of clients. In the aftermath of an Armagedon event, there are only two areas of the Earth left with human life: The British Federation and The Colony (Australia), and workers and others travel between them in a high-speed tunnel thru the earth called The Fall. The futuristic environment looks a bit like Blade Runner mixed with Fifth Element. When Hauser (who doesn’t know he is really Quaid and that his so-called wife is an agent he’s only been with briefly) goes to Rekall he suddenly becomes a man on the run. The evil commissioner Cohaagen of the Federation intends to launch an invasion of The Colony with his robot army and take it over. Quaid hooks up with his real girlfriend and the so-called “terrorists,” for whom he is the hero, and must single-handedly thwart the invasion and kill its leader and the female agent who is trying to kill him.

There is far too much sci-fi CGI stuff, way too many Star Wars-like stormtroopers, and too many fights and wild chase sequences. They seem to go on and on, like you’re trapped in a violent computer game. Much of this probably was added in the Director’s Cut which I chose over the Theatrical version. It also has a hologram (in a piano!) of Ethan Hawke which was cut from the Theatrical version. I didn’t begin to understand all the huge devices going up and down and exploding all over in flames. Plus the two women (the fake partner and the real one) look too much alike to easily distinguish between them. (Speaking of women, the three-breasted one from the first film is here again; otherwise no mutants.) I personally love sci-fi but this is definitely not my cup of tea; may be yours. If you dig it there’s over one-and-a-half hours of extras here to explore it further. I think I won’t recall it but try to forget it as soon as I can.

—John Sunier




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