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Total Recall (2012) - Plot Summary Poster

(I) (2012)

Plot

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Summaries

  • A factory worker, Douglas Quaid, begins to suspect that he is a spy after visiting Recall - 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 with rebel soldier Melina (Jessica Biel) on a mission to track down Matthias (Bill Nighy), the head of a fierce resistance movement that's been labeled a terrorist organization by the tyrannical Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston). Cohaagen seeks to control the entire free world, and now the harder Quaid fights to defeat him, the clearer it becomes that his memory had been altered long before he walked into Rekall.

  • For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid, even though he's got a beautiful wife who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life - real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man as he finds himself on the run from the police.

  • Douglas Quaid is a factory worker with a beautiful wife living in a futuristic world where the majority of the earth has been rendered uninhabitable. For Quaid, Rekall (a process by which false memories are implanted into a subjects head) seems like just the "getaway" he needs. Quaid finds himself thrust into the midst of a global conspiracy when the procedure to implant a secret agent mission into his memory goes wrong - or does it?


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • At the end of 21st Century, the Earth is divided into two territories the United Federation of Britain (UFB) and the Colony (formerly Australia) after chemical warfare devastates the remainder of the planet. Many residents of the Colony travel to the UFB to work in their factories via "the Fall", a gravity elevator, which travels through the Earth. Habitable space is at a minimum in both the UFB and the Colony.

    A factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) decides to visit Rekall, a company that implants artificial memories. Rekall employee McClane (John Cho) convinces Quaid to be implanted with memories of a secret agent. Quaid is tested to avoid having implanted memories conflicting with real memories, and McClane discovers that Quaid has real memories being a spy. McClane and his co-workers are suddenly gunned down by a SWAT team. While Quaid is being arrested, he instinctively reacts and kills the officers before escaping. Quaid returns home to his wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale) and confesses what has transpired. Lori attempts to kill Quaid, revealing that she is not his wife of seven years, but an undercover UFB agent who has been monitoring him for the past six weeks. Quaid manages to escape, and Hammond (Dylan Smith), a man claiming to be a former associate, contacts Quaid via a cell phone embedded in Quaid's hand, disclosing the location of a nearby safe-deposit box. Quaid cuts the cell phone out of his hand to avoid being traced. In the safe-deposit box, Quaid discovers a recorded message from his former self, leading him to an apartment in UFB.

    On the way, Quaid meets Melina (Jessica Biel), the woman from his dreams. At the apartment, Quaid uses a piano to trigger a second recorded message. The recording reveals that Quaid was formerly Carl Hauser, a highly skilled agent working for Chancellor Vilos Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston). After joining the resistance movement, Hauser was captured and implanted with false memories of life as a factory worker. The recording reveals a plot by Cohaagen's administration to use its synthetic police force to invade the Colony to provide more living space for UFB, but that Hauser had seen a code that could stop the robotic forces; it is still in Quaid's memory, and can be recovered with the aid of resistance leader Matthias (Bill Nighy). Melina reveals that she was Hauser's lover, but the two were separated when Hauser was captured. Tracked to the apartment by the police, Quaid and Melina find themselves surrounded. Quaid's friend and colleague from the Colony, named Harry (Bokeem Woodbine), arrives and tries to convince Quaid that he is in a Rekall-induced dream and that killing Melina is the only way to wake up. Quaid is conflicted, but seeing a tear in Melina's eye, he concludes that he is not dreaming and kills Harry.

    Quaid flees with Melina to the Resistance headquarters, where Matthias attempts to recover the code from Quaid's mind. Accessing Quaid's memories reveals that the code was a plot to allow Cohaagen to locate Matthias. Cohaagen and his forces arrive, kill Matthias, and capture Quaid and Melina. Cohaagen plans to erase Quaid's personality and restore the memories of his loyal agent Hauser. Quaid is able to escape with the aid of Hammond, who has infiltrated Cohaagen's forces, but Hammond dies in the process. Quaid infiltrates the Fall where Quaid finds Cohaagen's robotic forces in stasis. He plants time-detonation bombs aboard the Fall before rescuing Melina. He and Melina are pursued by Cohaagen's forces and ultimately end up on top of the Fall as it lands in the Colony. Quaid and Melina fight Cohaagen and his forces, and manage to escape the Fall when the bombs detonate. The Fall is destroyed, incinerating Cohaagen in the process.

    Quaid wakes up in an ambulance and is greeted by Melina, but he notices the absence of an old gunshot wound on her hand and realizes it is Lori in disguise, after surviving from the explosion. Quaid manages to disarm and kill Lori. Quaid and Melina are reunited and embrace as he remembers that the Rekall worker put a peace sign symbol on his forearm before injecting him with the dream chemicals. He pulls off a bandage to reveal that there is no peace sign symbol on his forearm. Melina asks him what's wrong and he replies nothing. A Rekall billboard plays in the background.

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