Let?s be honest, 80?s sci-fi movies were ace, weren?t they? Explosions, scantily-clad women (and men!), cool aliens/mutants/monsters, shamelessly OTT spaceships, and cheese by the bucket-load. At the end of the period (1990) we were offered a slice of SF pie par-excellence. Baked by master chef Paul Verhoeven, and filled with the tasty ingredients of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Ironside, Sharon Stone and Ronny Cox ? it was a sci-fi fans gastronomic dream. Well, this year a new version is being released, starring Colin Farrell and so the powers-that-be have brought forth a new, shinier version of the 1990 original on BluRay.
Watching the film again in all its restored glory is a joy. I had feared that it might have dated like The Running Man has, but no, the film still has great pacing, exciting set-pieces and is a fun ride from start to end. OK, so some of the special effects are now looking dated, but surprisingly you overlook this as you are pulled in to the epic storyline. Arnie goes from building-site schlep to super-spy in a matter of minutes, kicking Sharon Stone?s well-formed butt in the process. In a masterpiece of casting, the truly excellent Michael Ironside plays his nemesis, Richter, and brings with him a bag-full of viciousness, anger and vengeance. The story starts on Earth but ends up on Mars, with a terraforming conclusion that is utterly preposterous but entreatingly brilliant (you will never get bored watching a fake Arnie head gasping for breath with bulging eyes and tongue!)
The movie looks and sound fantastic, and is a nice addition to any sci-fi collection. There are a host of additional features, documentaries and so forth. Some are the usual making of nonsense, but there is a lot of interesting deep-level stuff hidden in there too.
I loved revisiting Total Recall, and it has made me want to rewatch Robocop and Starship Troopers again. Paul Verhoeven had a style all his own, and a sci-fi sensibility shared by few. Whether the new version does the original (or the book) justice we will have to wait and see. But for now I can heartily recommend a trip down memory lane with Arnie & co?good memories are just a three-breasted prostitute away!
16TH JULY : TOTAL RECALL SPECIAL EDITION
The year is 2084 and the world has survived its third world war. Two opposing government blocs rule the world. Mars has been colonized and is wracked by political unrest. On Earth construction worker Douglas Quaid (Schwarzenegger), a man with a beautiful wife, a good job and great friends, is dreaming constantly of Mars, of another life there, and a mysterious woman.?His wife Lori (Sharon Stone) worries he?s becoming obsessed with the war torn planet and deters Quaid from taking an actual trip to the colony there, so he settles for the next best thing – a ‘virtual vacation’.?Mega conglomerate Rekall has the technology to implant the memory of any holiday that a customer desires, one guaranteed to seem as real as the real thing. Quaid chooses the upgrade package ? the opportunity to ?go? with a whole new identity, choosing that of a secret agent. But during the implant procedure something goes very wrong. A whole new personality that had been blocked from his mind violently awakes. His everyday world crumbles around him, a world in which everything ? and everyone – he thinks he knows and experienced may be a fabrication. Thrust into a fight for his life and relentlessly pursued by former his wife and former friends, Quaid travels to Mars to unravel who he is really working for and why. Is he really a spy, or is he just suffering from a massive paranoid delusion?
Directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone,?Michael Ironside and Ronny Cox
DVD extras: New interview with Paul Verhoeven / Total Recall: Special Effects / Audio commentary with Paul Verhoeven and Arnold Schwarzenegger / trailer
Blu-ray Extras: New Interview with director Paul Verhoeven: TOTAL RECALL 20 Years After / Audio Commentary with Paul Verhoeven and Arnold Schwarzenegger / Total Recall: The Special Effects / Making of / Imagining Total Recall Featurette / Restoration comparison / Photo Gallery / Trailer