Movie Title: Total Recall
Director: Len Wiseman
Release Date: August 3rd, 2012
Date Seen: August 5th, 2012
Seen With: Michael, best friend, who had never seen the original
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
This was interesting to watch considering it was me, who has seen the original and my friend Michael who has not. It was interesting to listen to his opinions after the movie and how they differed compared to mine. If you want to know what I felt about the original – check out the review here. This version – I liked. I prefer the original, but this one had its moments. I just think the reason people love the first one – is for the weird, crazy, crappy mutants, Arnold, and it was kind of a new idea at the time. It had a nice little cult-ish charm about the movie. But this version is a revamped action packed sexy movie. I mean, the only mutant that we get to see is the three boobed one. And other than having three boobs she looks completely normal and like a hot girl. It was however, still a nod to the original. There were several of these little nods. The plot was fairly similar, allowing them to do some clever nods. For example, the fat woman in a yellow coat at a passport check point makes an appearance – although it’s not who you think it is. This version relies much more heavily on the “Is it real? Is it recall?” idea – probably due to our fascination nowadays with leaving open ended movies, giving you more time to think about them. I felt the old version was clear that it was recall. This one, not as much.
But – they are different movies and must be judged as such. The movie was a nice action packed movie, the plot was familiar but revamped for new updates in technology. Some cool devices were things such as the fridge that now had a screen on it, so you could put any picture or words you wanted on it… magnetic cars/highways, cell phones implanted in hands, elevators that moved in 4 directions, and some others. I found the technology ideas more interesting than the actual movie plot, because I knew basically what was going to happen. But, that’s a good thing, because the movie managed to keep my attention even though I knew the plot. So plus for them. This movie also has a lot of Lori Quaid (Kate Beckinsale), Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell)’s wife. So that causes a lot of girl on girl fights, or hot Kate Beckinsale doing what she does best – looking hot with guns and in fights.
Part 2 – In-depth Spoiler Ridden Review/Synopsis
The movie begins with a opening picture of the world. It says that after years of chemical warfare across the globe, only two places are habitable now – the United Federation of Britain (exactly where you think it is) and “The Colony” (Australia). There is a giant tube that goes through the center of the Earth called “The Fall”. Living space is the most valued commodity on Earth. Workers commute daily from the more run down Colony to work in the UFB.
Now we see a scene with Quaid (Colin Farrell) and a woman (Jessica Biel) escaping from some type of facility. The scene ends with a bullet going through both of their hands, the woman falling out the window, and Quaid getting captured. Then suddenly – Quaid wakes up in bed, with his wife, Lori (Kate Beckinsale). She asks him if it was the same nightmare as always, yes, yes it was, and he’s been having trouble sleeping. Lori’s cell phone suddenly starts beeping – she is an EMT and there has been a bombing and so she is called in. She leaves saying they’ll talk later. As Quaid gets ready for work, he watches the news. From the news we learn that the Colony is led by Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston). He is trying to stop the terrorists (aka the Resistance) who are led by a man called Matthias (Bill Nighy). The news says that the Resistance has just blown up a subway train car in the UFB. Because of this, Cohaagen is going to start cutting funding to the Colony (which is where the Resistance mainly is located) and putting more funds into his robotic police force. They look like if you took the AI robots and mixed them with storm troopers. I’m going to call them the TRSTs (Total Recall Storm Troopers). The news also mentions as Quaid leaves about the most notorious double agent, called Hauser.
On the way to the Fall, Quaid meets up with his friend Harry (Bokeem Woodbine). Harry says that Quaid looks like shit and Quaid is just kind of out of it. On their way to the Fall he notices an ad for “Rekall” – they say they can give you the memory of anything you want. Arriving at the Fall, we see what it looks like. It looks like a giant metal bullet that gets dropped down into the earth. And I mean GIANT. There are tons of people loading up on this thing. So clearly, tons of people commute daily. The Fall is a 17 minute journey. Just for shits and giggles, I decided to see how fast that means they must be traveling. So I googled the diameter of the earth, and found it to be about 7,926.28 miles (12,756.1 km). Dividing that by 17, we get 466.25 miles per minute (750.36 kilometers per minute) which is equivalent to 27,975.11 miles per hour (45,021.53 kilometers per hour). And that’s not taking into account acceleration or deceleration, but it’s enough taht we get the picture. That is holy shit damn fast. In the middle of the Fall there is a moment where they have a “gravity shift” as they are passing through the core. Basically everything in the cabin starts anti-gravity floating, and the cabin rotates itself around. Kind of cool to watch (but even cooler later in the movie).
Harry and Quaid arrive and go to work. They work at a plant that builds the TRSTs. Quaid asks Harry about Rekall – and Harry says he should stay away from it, because he knows a guy that got lobotomized doing it. While training a new guy – we see what exactly Quaid does. He works on the assembly line putting a chest piece on the TRSTs. He tells the new guy how to avoid getting a bolt through his hand – and shows him the scar on his hand. The new guy tells Quaid he overheard the Rekall conversation and that it’s fine and he has in fact done it three times. Around then Quaid is called in by his boss to inform him that he did not get a promotion – because some guy from the UFB wanted it instead. Aw, poor Quaid. He heads home and finds a note on the fridge saying that Lori had a bad day and is already in bed. Because of that, Quaid decides to go meet Harry at the bar. They hang out for a while and Quaid (according to Harry) is still acting strange and seeming distant. Quaid says he just feels like his job is pointless and isn’t happy with his life. As they leave the bar to go home, Quaid goes off into the (even more) sketch part of the Colony. It’s like their red light district. There we see some cool things going on. My favorite was the light tattoos. There also is the three-boobed prostitute nod that I mentioned earlier. Quaid turns her down and asks her where Rekall is.
Quaid arrives at Rekall and is an obvious first timer. He gives the woman a card that the guy from work gave him and asks for McClane. The woman takes Quaid to the room and shuts the door. McClane (John Cho – but blonde!) explains to Quaid what all they can do. They can take any fantasy and make it real in their mind. Quaid is skeptical saying that “even the best illusion is still an illusion.” McClane tells him that they use chemicals to have actual brain responses associated with the memories – and then asks Quaid what he wants. He perks up at being the idea of a secret again – or even better a secret DOUBLE agent. Ohhh. He sits down in the chair and they start getting him ready. They have to go through his memory real quick to check and make sure he isn’t really a secret double agent (because if you have them implant something that is actually true anyway, it screws with your brain and that’s how you end up lobotomized). They decide he’s ok and start the treatment – then suddenly something flashes red, they freak out, start to rip the tubes out of his arms – when in break in about 10 police officers. They shoot the Rekall people and tell Quaid to put his hands behind his head. He does and as they approach him, something clicks and he takes them all out. He has no idea what he has just done.
Quaid ends up escaping after knocking out a second group of police men. He manages to make it home and finds Lori up and extremely worried. On the TV they are talking about the mass shooting that just took place at Rekall. Quaid tells Lori that he did that – that he went to Rekall and something went wrong, and he killed those men. Lori says there’s no way that’s possible, the Rekall people just screwed with his mind and now he’s having delusions. She starts to hug him – and wraps her arm around his neck, tightly. Quaid says he can’t breathe and you see Lori’s face change from loving wife to stone cold bitch. A fight breaks out between the two of them. During the fight, Lori explains that all his memories are faked – she didn’t even know he existed 6 weeks ago. She’s really a UFB cop assigned to keep tabs on Quaid. She doesn’t know who he really is though. During the fight, Quaid ends up getting away. Lori calls in back up and they go hunting for him. She also calls someone and tells them to “Activate Quaid’s phone”. In the streets of the Colony, Quaid looks down and his hand starts ringing and lighting up. He pushes a button and answers it. It is a man named Hammond (Dylan Smith). He tells Quaid to go put his hand on some glass – when he does; a picture of the man pops up. Super cool. The man informs Quaid that the old Quaid told him (Hammond) to call this number if it ever popped back up on the grid and tell him to “find the key.” Quaid asks Hammond what the key is, and Hammond said “you said you’d know”. Quaid asks who he really is and Hammond says it doesn’t matter and just find the key and get rid of the phone. He hangs up and Quaid tries to call him back – but a message pops up with a bank name and safety deposit box number. So Quaid sits down and starts to cut the phone out of his hand – because it is how the cops are tracking him. Nasty. Some teenagers watch though, clearly wanting one of these phones.
Quaid goes off towards the bank to get his safety deposit box. In the box he finds fake passports, with pictures of 3 different men in them, tons of cash, a collar looking thing, and I think a gun. He also finds a pen-light looking black thing. Looking at the box further, Quaid finds a secret switch. When he pushes it, a message comes up. Someone is struggling around a medical facility and trying to record this message – the camera pops down – and it’s himself on the camera. Quaid is shocked. Video-Quaid says that right now he’s not sure if he can trust real Quaid, so he needs to get to his (Video-Quaid)’s apartment, and use the key to get more information. People are breaking down the door in the video – and end up pulling video-Quaid away. Quaid leaves, not sure what else to do, other than go to this apartment.
Lori and her cops have finally caught up to where Quaid cut the phone out of his hand. She is interrogating the teenagers who were watching him do it and want to know every single thing that was said there. Then, Cohaagen calls Lori on HER hand phone. She puts it on the glass to talk to him and she demands to know who this guy is. Cohaagen says it doesn’t matter but they need him alive. Lori continues to demand to know who he is since she is on the hunt for him and doesn’t get why a lowly factory worker is causing this much drama. Cohaagen has her take him off display and tells her in her ear who Quaid really is. We do not hear what he says, but Lori is clearly shaken. Lori tells her men to shoot to kill – even though Cohaagen wants him alive.
Now we head to the UFB passport check stand. A woman in a yellow jacket with a purple scarf walks through the security check point, and an Asian man quickly follows through behind her. The officer asks “could you stop and come back through?” Both turn around, and he is indicating the Asian man. He does, and the police officer starts asking him questions about his stay – but his answers don’t make sense. “What are you here for?” “Thank you”…. And then you see his face change and start glitching – Quaid is wearing the collar thing found in his safety deposit box and it makes him appear as one of the three men on the passports. They yell, “It’s him!” and start shooting, but Quaid gets away. For those who are wondering why I mentioned the woman in yellow – it is because in the original Total Recall, that was the disguise Arnold was in. So this was one of the nice nods to the original. It was very well done. So, fights happen in the Fall passport check area – Lori appears leading her cops after him, chases ensue, and Quaid ends out on the “highway”. The highway is SUPER cool. There are magnetic tracks so the cars hover above (or below as we later see) the highway. As he scrambles to get across the highway, a car stops and the woman yells at him to get in. The woman is Melina (Jessica Biel), the same woman from his dream. He gets in and is just staring at her. She asks if he recognizes her – he does but only from a dream. The chase ensues for a good amount of time and it did show off some pretty cool effects. The chase ends with Quaid disabling the car, having it rapidly fall towards the ground, and turning it on before they hit the ground. Melina is now wounded, and Quaid debates leaving her or not – but he picks her up and takes her to the apartment that video-Quaid told him to.
In the apartment, Quaid lays Molina down and wipes the blood off her face. He then goes exploring the apartment trying to look for what the key could be and what to do with it. Everything in the apartment has been sealed by the cops so he just cuts everything open and goes exploring. While cleaning blood off his face he finds a secret compartment in the mirror, maybe with a gun inside of it (I honestly forgot), but whatever it was it didn’t matter. Quaid notices that his apartment has a piano. So he sits down at it. He had earlier told Harry that he wished he would have learned to play the piano. Quaid starts to just push some keys and finds that he actually does know how to play – and starts playing a tune. In the middle of it, he finds one key on the piano that doesn’t work. He remembers the pen-light looking thing he found in his safety deposit box – he rips out the broken key and puts this one in – a perfect fit. He then plays the tune again, and inside the piano we see the keys light up as they are hit and eventually “unlocking”. When they unlock, a giant hologram of video-Quaid pops up above the piano and begins speaking.
Video-Quaid introduces himself as Hauser – a former agent of Cohaagen who was sent in to infiltrate the resistance’s operation and get close to Matthias. But while he was doing that, he met a woman, Melina, who changed everything. He sided with the Resistance after he found out that Cohaagen was creating the army of TRST’s to destroy the Colony and use it for more space for the good people of the UFB. Cohaagen is even orchestrating the bombings in the UFB – and blaming it on the resistance so that he has an excuse to build even more TRST’s. At one point, Hauser saw that the TRST’s have a kill code – and even now, it must still be in Quaid’s head somewhere. He must get to Matthias and figure out the code, or else Cohaagen is going to kill everyone in the Colony. When the message ends, Quaid is in shock and finding this all hard to believe. Melina appears behind him telling him that everything he just heard is in fact true. Quaid can’t believe it and says there’s no way they could have faked all the memories in his head, such as his mom dying of cancer when he was 16, marrying his high school sweetheart, his job, his friends, etc. Melina tells him all the details she knows about his life and how none of the things he just said are true. She even asks about the scar on his hand – which he thinks he got from a bolt. She has one as well, and it’s from a time when they both got shot through the hand (omg the dream!). About that time they hear and see police coming so they start to run away. They get downstairs and find the building already surrounded by cops. In walks Harry, with a bullet proof vest on. Harry tells Quaid that he is stuck in Rekall – and that this is all a dream. He says that Quaid is having a psychotic break and can’t get out of the dream. He says the Rekall people sent him, Harry, in to inform Quaid of this. Even Lori is there, and he points her out in the crowd outside of the building crying and freaking out and all concerned. He tells Quaid that the only way to get out is to shoot Melina, since she is at the center of his psychotic break. Harry even gives Melina the gun to show them that he is trust worthy. Melina starts to try and shoot Quaid, rather than let the cops take him, but she can’t do it. Harry says of course she couldn’t shoot Quaid, because she’s not real. Quaid starts lifting up his gun – and shoots Harry. Then there are more epic fights through the streets of the UFB. Lori outside, whips off her white shawl and becomes the stone-cold-bitch once again, leading the chase.
Quaid and Melina get away, by playing in the super cool elevators that go 4 directions. It’s a long chase scene, but it’s cool to watch. After a while, they really get away. Melina says that they have to get to Matthias. She takes Quaid down into the old subway tunnels – which now lead to the chemical warfare “no zone”. They put on gas masks and ride the subway train into the zone. Everyone on the train seems to know Quaid and is glad he’s back. Quaid tells Melina that it’s a weird feeling with everyone knowing him, but he doesn’t even know himself. They arrive and walk through the desolate landscape of what used to be a city in England. It was pretty cool – it kind of looked like a dustier version of the city in the movie “Doomsday”. They get inside the air locked building and can take off their gas masks. The reason Cohaagen has never found Matthias is because he wouldn’t think to look here.
Quaid goes into talk to Matthias. Quaid tells him that there is a kill code but doesn’t know how to remember it. To remember it, they strap Quaid in a ghetto version of the Rekall machine and start to go through his memories. They find the kill code and it’s encrypted. They start trying to go through it and all of a sudden a big picture of Cohaagen pops up and starts talking to them. They realize it’s a trap and try to get Quaid out of the chair super quickly – but it’s too late and in barge in Lori, Cohaagen, and tons of cops. They kill almost everyone – Quaid is protecting Matthias the whole time, but they both end up being captured. Cohaagen comes in and just kills Matthias. Cohaagen then explains that Hauser was his best agent ever – because he agreed to become a double agent – who didn’t even know he was doing it. It was all Hauser’s idea to wash his memory and lead them straight to Matthias – and there never was a kill code even. Hauser and Cohaagen recorded all those fake discussions jus to get Quaid to trust him. And now, he’s going to get Hauser back by washing Quaids memory and putting back in Hauser. Lori and Cohaagen leave with Melina – planning to do a public trial on her so that the people have someone to blame for what is about to happen. The cops left with Quaid start tying him to the chair. One cop tells “Hammond” to strap him down. Quaid remembers that Hammond was the man who called him at the beginning of the movie. Hammond really cuts the straps and so when the moment is right, Quaid knocks them all out and escapes. In the shootout though, poor Hammond got shot and died. 😦
At the Fall – Cohaagen is filling it up with his TRST’s planning to invade the Colony right then. They put Melina in a compartment by herself with two guards, so that she can watch the destruction that’s going to happen. The people in the Colony hear the news that the UFB is loading up the Fall with TRST’s so they know they have little time left before the invasion begins. On noes. Quaid makes it to the Fall and manages to break into a vent or something before it takes off. So he is now pissed and on it, ready to stop the invasion from happening. He sets up timed bombs the whole time all this is going on.
There are a lot of fights through here, with Quaid trying to get to Melina. The highlights are when he gets Melina, the cops are after them, and then they reach the core. The “gravity switch” starts to happen and Quaid uses this moment beautifully to his advantage. He shoots the cops nearby – and because they are in a zero gravity type situation, the gun propulsions them the opposite direction. He then shoots the gun down so that they go up. They end up hiding in a compartment – that is full of TRST’s. Luckily though, they aren’t activated so they are just sleeping there. Quaid starts trying to open a door to the outside – he needs to get them to the flight deck so that they can fly away before the Fall blows up. The gravity goes back to normal and Lori and some cops are now beating down the door. Quaid gets his door open and he and Melina start climbing up the outside of the Fall. Lori tells Cohaagen what is going on – he says he’ll deal with them and she (Lori) just needs to make sure that the TRST’s are ready when they arrive at the Colony for the invasion. So she goes off to start programming them with commands like “treat the members of the Colony as hostile. Shoot to kill.” Now Melina and Quaid easily climb up the side of the Fall. Remember how fast it’s going? Yeah, no freaking way they would ever survive climbing the outside of a tube that just went through the core of the earth. But whatever!
Melina and Quaid get to the top and some fights start ensuing between cops and Quaid. Melina gets shot at and ends up getting separated from Quaid. So she goes down to start trying to find a plane. Quaid is left up top to deal with Cohaagen. They fight for a bit and alternate who is in control. Melina ends up coming up on the flight deck with a plane and starts shooting at the other cops and TRST’s that are all around then. She runs out of ammo and the plane ends up getting destroyed. Cohaagen now also has Quaid in a bad position and is about to kill him – when Quaid points out the timer on his wrist – that is counting the final 10 seconds until the bombs start going off. Taking Cohaagens momentary distraction into account, Quaid gains the upper hand and stabs Cohaagen. Melina and Quaid jump off the Fall, just as it reaches the Colony and just as the bombs start going off. We don’t see what happens to Lori, just a bomb going off near her.
The next scene we see Quaid waking up inside of an ambulance. Melina is there saying “we did it” and grabs his hand. Quaid looks down and sees that there isn’t a scar on her hand and freaks out – it’s really Lori with the collar thing on her head. They fight, and Quaid ends up shooting and killing her. Melina (real one) runs up from her ambulance and hugs him and they look out over the Colony as we listen to some news reports about all the shit that just went down.
Meh. If you haven’t seen the original, you’ll probably enjoy it more than someone who has. It was just a familiar plot, relying on hot girls, action scenes, special effects, and cool technologies to wow you. Which is good and all, but the first one was just SO cool and hilarious. This one didn’t even have some of the funny parts the old one did that made it so great. And the mutants? Not in this one. Overall good try, but disappointing for fans of the original.