A factory worker, Douglas Quaid, begins to suspect that he is a spy after visiting Rekall - a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led - goes wrong and he finds himself on the run.
Originally adapted by director Paul Verhoeven in 1990, author Philip K. Dick's classic Sci-Fi short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale returns to the big screen in this remake starring Colin Farrell, Bryan Cranston, and Kate Beckinsale, and directed by Underworld's Len Wiseman. The planet has been decimated by nuclear war in the late 21st century, leaving only two nations -- the United Federation of Britain and the Colony. Douglas Quaid (Farrell) is a factory worker with a stable job and a loving wife (Beckinsale), but upon learning that a company named Rekall could grant him the memory of the ultimate espionage adventure, he decides that a virtual vacation is better than no vacation at all. But in the midst of having the new memories implanted, something goes haywire. Still strapped to the chair as the system breaks down, he's branded a spy as the authorities close in, and quickly flees for his life. Later, Quaid discovers that he has a secret identity, and he joins forces ...
Other than a brief appearance on a video screen, Bryan Cranston does not appear until almost 90 minutes into the film. See more »
The Arabic characters written on the top left side of the passports are reversed , since Arabic is written from right to left , but when reading them from left to right they do make sense , they actually read "New Asia" which is the old name of the colony . See more »
There is also a 130-minute extended cut, which has the following changes that makes the original story more complex and clarifies certain plot lines:
The first major change is that due to Ethan Hawke's appearance as the original Hauser, it has been clarified that Hauser becomes Quaid via memory wipe and a facial transplant. Also, rather than being converted by the resistance, it was revealed that Quaid was implanted into the resistance, with past memories to be re-implanted after completion by Cohaagen (evident by a line from him to Lori: "Neutralize only, do you understand me? No lethal force. I want him alive for re-implantation"). Subsequent scenes that appear throughout in the theatrical version have been replaced with material matching the plot point, mostly significant in his London apartment and after the raid at the resistance hideout.
The second major change is the relationship of Matthias and Melina, which is revealed and clarified as father and daughter in the new cut. Subsequent scenes that appear throughout in the theatrical version have been replaced with material matching the plot point, mostly significant after the raid at the resistance hideout.
A slight longer prologue while Quaid removes the locks on the grid as Melina covers him. He admits that he loves her and they kiss for a moment before she fires again at the pursuers after once the locks have been removed.
On the way to work, Quaid passes an ID-check and a electronic scanner. Harry complaints that he couldn't adjust to the new shift but the extra allowance makes up for it.
Harry argues that he had instructed the last new guy who, in subsequence, was fired by the supervisor. The supervisor orders Doug to do so and leaves.
In this cut, the conversation is now at the government official's room instead of the shift supervisor's room. The government official tells him that he's doing a loyalty check on workers to ensure they are not involved in any coup d'etat activities. Quaid behaves quite hostile here, but begrudgingly signs the loyalty form when told that he risks losing his job for not signing it.
After work, in The Fall, he now sleeps and has a recurring dream rather than staying awake.
The bar scene with Quaid and Harry is slightly longer: Harry asks why Quaid isn't happy with his life then asks who is the girl in the dream he had, which Doug says there's no girl; Harry also completes the line: "And go home to your wife."
On the way to the Rekall center, there's a longer moment between Quaid and the three-breast hooker with sparse shots of robot women hookers on the way.
Hammond (Quaid's partner in the enforcement) tells his cover name is Henry, before Quaid goes to the bank. At the bank, Quaid had some problem with the routine signature match procedure before he goes to the vault.
The confrontation between Harry, Quaid and Melina was longer in separate bits: Harry is trying to convince Quaid that the whole situation now was a result of a trauma from a chemical fantasy; he reveals that he was worried about him in the bar and had followed him to the Rekall facility; when asking about why Harry wears a bulletproof vest, he says he was trying to help him out of the hallucination, while Melina insists that the whole situation is real. Quaid gets confused doesn't know who to believe; Melina loses patience and utters angrily that Harry should tell Quaid the truth or she would kill him; Harry symbolizes Melina as Quaid's frustration and unhappiness.
In the Fall, Quaid sneaks pass two policemen. A computer voice warns that the Colony (rigged with a bomb) is due in 17 minutes. Later Melina enters there through a shaft below the upper platform.
Just before the end, Quaid removes the bandage over the spot where the Rekall injection tattoo was burnt into. It's no longer there. He's confused and Melina asks him whether he's alright.
Remake shows all the pros and cons of modern film making trends
What makes up who we are? Are we the result of our past experiences and memories or does our identity stem from something much deeper? These are questions that the 2012 remake of the classic action film "Total Recall" could have delved into. What we have instead is a showcase of the best and worst of modern science fiction film making. It is Definitely a product of 2012 as much as the original was a product of the early 90s.
The aforementioned themes are only teased but never developed in this intense tale of on man's quest to uncover the truth of his identity and past. In a vastly overcrowded, class segregated future, everyman Douglas Quaid is haunted by dreams of being a secret agent on the run. Convinced that these are repressed fantasies brought on by his monotonous life assembling security automatons (which are like Cyber Stormtroopers) Quaid visits this place called "Rekall"; Rekall claims to implant fake but realistic fantasies into one's mind. So he gets a fantasy of being a double agent implanted. Suddenly, its discovered that he already has memories of being an agent: meaning he actually is an agent with his memory erased. A swat team busts in for some reason and he dispatches them to some beautiful camera camera pans. What follows is "Kurt Wimmer's 'Salt: dystopian future edition - minus Angelina Jolie" (surprise surprise, this movie is also written by Wimmer) with Quaid's wife turning out to be a psychopathic killer, his past a complete sham and his grip on that fine line between reality and fantasy slowly slipping. In the background lies a dastardly plot by a rich chancellor involving the poor dissidents of the overcrowded Colony and the leader of an underground resistance.
The most striking feature of Total Recall would be the stunning vision of this overcrowded future. Floating buildings to make up for scarce land, a country confused by its melting pot of cultures, cyborg police, hover cars, it is amazing. This is a future that seems very real judging from our current world: Strict class segregation taken to the extreme. The dichotomy in the design between the rich and elite United Federation of Britain and The ramshackle Colony is beautifully rendered thanks to the amazing production design headed by Patrick Tatopoulos (the guy who worked on Independence Day, Starship Troopers and Dark city).
A pity that the rest of the movie is fairly typical of modern day chase thrillers. Compared to the original Total Recall film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, this remake has Less twists, a less ambiguous ending and lacks the cynical dark humor that made the original so memorable. Instead of keeping it ambiguous as to whether the events unfolding are real or part of Quaid's implanted fantasy, this remake spoils its own mystery for the audience.
Director Len Wiseman brings in all that is good and bad in modern day film making into this movie. He shoots Total Recall with an over reliance on shaky cam and lens flare, almost like a "Paul Greengrass meets J.J Abrams". Think Bourne Supremacy with the visual style of the 2009 Star Trek film. The future is epilepsy inducing, we get it; and sometimes this really distracts from the tip top designs.
The cast is basically a reunion of mist actors that were in Len Wiseman's Underworld franchise. They do an excellent job with the acting and chemistry but the good actors like Bill Nighly felt under utilised. Only Kate Beckinsale was able to truly shine playing Quaid's wife-turned-assassin. Quaid himself is played by Colin Ferrel and is perhaps the only improvement this remake boasts over the original. Schwarzenegger's Quaid was the quintessential action hero but Ferrel's portrayal of the character had a greater sense of peril: he looks nothing like an action hero and this makes his transformation from everyman to savior of the downtrodden all the more powerful.
Whether one finds this a good movie or not depends on whether one can accept the modern trends of science fiction film making. It is the same plot as the original with all the "1990s" elements taken out and replaced with "2012" elements. Art Aficionados will be impressed by the overall look, style and camera-work showcased here. Those looking for a deep meaningful dive into the nature of human identity or even those looking for clever twists or smart dialogue will be let down. Take away the visuals and it's a rather generic, straight forward modern chase thriller.
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