Customer Reviews: Total Recall (Blu-ray + DVD)
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VINE VOICEon December 6, 2012
I'm primarily interested in the storyline differences between the Director's Cut and its theatrical counterparts, so here are the differences between the two (NOTE: SPOILERS FOLLOW).

The Director's Cut runs about 12 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. No additional gore has been added although additional F-bombs have been added. Ethan Hawke makes a surprise appearance in a scene that was cut from the theatrical movie.

(1) Extra scene of Quaid meeting with a Human Resources Management representative from the Cohaagen administration who requests that he sign a non-disclosure agreement given that he works at a sensitive defense production factory. (I can see why this was cut as it didn't add much to the overall storyline.)

(2) Extra scene of scantily clad women in Rekall neighborhood. (The three mammary gland-ed lady still makes the same appearance with topless nudity.)

(3) In the scene where Quaid finds the hidden holographic piano recording in his apartment, it has been altered to show Ethan Hawke as the old Quaid, revealing that Cohaagen also gave Quaid facial reconstructive surgery. (This was an interesting twist which I wished they had left in. It explains why no one was able to recognize him.)

(4) When Quaid and Melina escape from Lori in the elevator action sequence, there is a re-inserted shot of the destroyed elevator plunging onto the roadway below and destroying a hover car. (Pretty neat CGI!)

(5) During the UFB assault on Matthias's base, there is an extra shot of a white combat synth gunning down some hapless Resistance members.

(6) Melina is revealed to be Matthias's daughter. Cohaagen also refers to Melina as Matthias's daughter, rather than lieutenant.

(7) Cohaagen talks a little more about his plan to use Quaid to lead to Matthias, revealing that it was Quaid's idea to have his memory wiped in order to feign allegiance to Matthias.

(8) When Cohaagen has Quaid strapped to the chair, Quaid instead yells an F-word laced expletive at Cohaagen.

(9) When Cohaagen ponders what to do with Melina, she spits in his face and screams the F-word, whereas in the theatrical cut she says "Never!"

(10) The climactic final fight is slightly longer, showing an additional shot of UFB black-clad special forces troops getting gunned down by Melina and the fight between Cohaagen's black painted super-synth bodyguard and Quaid is slightly longer.

And that's it. The biggest addition is Ethan Hawke's reinserted scene.

I enjoyed the Total Recall re-make, even if it lacked some of the campy humor and ridiculous gore of Paul Verhoeven's original. I give it five stars for completely shallow reasons- Kate Beckinsale! Hello. Heck if I were Quaid and married to Kate Beckinsale I'd forget about Rekall. Jessica Biel is easy on the eyes too. The re-make is darker and more serious, akin to Minority Report meets Total Recall. It seems to combine elements from both the Arnold film and Philip Dick's "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale".

In a nod to the Verhoeven film, Harry and Quaid talk about going to Mars, a synthetic thug loses his arm, a similar looking "two weeks" woman walks by customs, Quaid uses holograms, Federal police engage in a zero-G gunbattle with Quaid, and the iconic three breasted woman makes an appearance. Missing of course are the memorable Johnny Cab, Benny, the poor sap who gets perforated on the escalator, and Kuato.

The action scenes are well staged even if TDI Vector sporting Federal police are mowed down like stormtroopers. The technology is fascinating, especially "The Fall" and hand insertable phones. The Colony's populace has a distinct Asian overtone and is more Blade Runner-esque. The UFB is probably situated in England to make Beckinsale's native accent more convenient.

I only wish they had made a hard R-version rather than pander to the PG-13 desires of studio executives.
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on August 3, 2012
I just got back from the Midnight showing of this movie and I have to say that I was actually quite impressed with the storyline as it differed just enough from the original to make the film very entertaining, yet didn't seem to be a complete re-hash of the original Total Recall starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Of course the special effects were much better than the original film, but I have to admit that Arnold has such a presence that it makes it very hard to compete against him. Especially when you are playing the part he played so well in the original. However, Colin Farrel does do a good job playing the role of Douglas Quaid, or is it Hauser. I'm not really sure and that is the point of the movie. The cast is rounded out with Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad: The Complete First Season fame reprising the role originally played by veteran actor Ronny Cox and Jessica Biel as Hauser's love interest Melina played by Rachel Ticotin in the original film, and Bokeem Woodbine as Quaid's friend Harry.

Now there are some obvious differences between the two films and without giving away in major spoilers, I am going to share a few of them with you here. So don't continue reading if you don't want to know some key plot elements in this new film.

1. Sharon Stone's role from the original film is played devilishly and deliciously by Kate Beckinsale of the Underworld: The Legacy Collection films and plays her character all the way through the entire film up until the very end. Her character in this film is actually a combination of two characters from the original film. Of course as I already stated Sharon Stone's original role, but also the role of Michael Ironside as Richter in the original film. I thought this was a nicely added touch and I am sure you will as well. Beckinsale really gives her role some real viciousness as it seems only a female can.

2. There is no relevance with the planet Mars in this version. All the events take place in what was once known as Europe and Australia.

3. There are no "mutants" of any kind really shown or implied in the film. Well of course there is one, but when you see her you'll wish you had three hands.

In order to fully enjoy this film, you really need to kind of forget about the original and just sit back and enjoy this film for what it is. A different take on the short story by Phillip K. Dick, "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale."

Shawn Kovacich
Author and Creator of numerous books and DVD's.
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on August 12, 2012
I kept thinking about the original film while watching this one. To put it simply: Arnold was better than Colin Farrell. Kate Beckinsale in the expanded role is better than Sharon Stone, and I really love them both. Jessica Biel is better than anyone, if you don't believe me, ask her. What I really liked about this film is the updated special effects, down to the electronic notes on the refrigerator door. I love attention to detail.

The action was fast paced. The future looks similar to "The Fifth Element" but with more computer gizmos. If you have seen the original version, then you can miss the first few minutes of this one and be able to pick it up.

For some reason they eliminated all the fun aspects of going to Mars. That is why we watched the first film. Instead we get a film where we simply root for the terrorists. The terrorists are revolting against the Chancellor who wants to replace workers with synthetics, although this theme was poorly developed.

One of the aspects of both productions that I didn't like was the initial dream sequence. Had they eliminated that from both films, then the genius of the script would have been the ambiguity of reality vs. the recall machine.

The film included 3D holograms, Star Wars stormtroopers, Bill Nighy for a brief moment, and an inadvertent mention of an old film "Hauser's Memory."

What I didn't like about this film was all the action. It didn't have drama scenes outside of the beginning. No colorful characters. No time for a Biel/ Farrell love scene. It was like watching someone play a video game. Seriously, where was the writing? The clever lines? The complex character? The relationship? Any moron can write "Bang bang, run shoot, bang, chase, shoot, bang."

Parental Guide: F-Bomb, Nudity (Kaitlyn Leeb wearing a fake chest) no sex. 3 stars is pushing it. Can't wait for the video game.
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on September 21, 2013
First off, any review of Total Recall (2012) must compare it to Total Recall (1990), and in just about every way possible, the newer one comes up short. Say what you want about Schwarzenegger's acting, he owned and sold the role in a way that Colin Farrell's sleepy, ballet-choreographed-fighting could not.

Then there was the appalling decision to combine the Sharon Stone and Michael Ironside characters into a single Kate Beckinsale role, which failed on every possible level.

Set design was accomplished by blatantly ripping off "Blade Runner," with additional contributions from "The Matrix," and "Minority Report." The Rekall store went from looking like a futuristic dentist's office to a hidden P.F. Chang's restaurant, for reasons that are utterly baffling -- isn't this supposed to be a major corporation, that advertises world-wide, like McDonald's? Why would it be hard to find?

The CGI wizardry of the modern day somehow looks tired and absurd compared to the effects Verhoeven achieved with technology 20 years older.

I'm pretty sure there was a paragraph of dialogue that was lifted nearly verbatim from "The Matrix" when Morpheus is explaining to Neo that the brain simply detects electro-chemical inputs.

Pacing was an absolute nightmare. It went from slow, when Quaid is trying to figure things out, to slower, when they would commence one of the combat-ballets.

Nothing was set up, and nothing was paid off. There are battle droids, and sometimes they're bulletproof, and sometimes, you can shoot them. There's a subway that goes through the Earth's molten rock and solid iron core. (BTW, the ENTIRE trip on "The Fall" would be at Zero-G to the occupants, not just the middle five seconds.) The rest of the world is uninhabitable because of "chemical weapons," but you can survive in it just by wearing a gas mask. Cohaagen, the chief bad guy (and "Chancellor"), is out there wearing a bulletproof vest with his suit trousers, on the front line with his troops. It would be like if President Obama had personally accompanied Seal Team Six to track and kill Osama Bin Laden. Jessica Biel's character was a cipher - we knew nothing about her, and she had nothing to do but provide occasional support for Colin Farrell. We didn't care about any of the characters. What's that? You're going to launch a genocidal invasion? Okay. Go ahead. I have nothing invested in anybody here. Most of the characters with speaking parts don't even live in that part of the world, anyway.

Want to watch "Total Recall?" Get the 1990 version and have a blast.
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on December 24, 2015
many remakes that are this bad! From the dark, drab, dreary filming (the Rekall set is particularly bad) to the idiotic acting to the reliance on mostly useless and unnecessary computer d-effects, this movie is a real time - and money - waster. So glad I only rented it rather than bought it. Take my advice: if you have to 'get your ass to mars, ol' buddy' do it with Arnold!
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When I saw the announcement of this remake, I wondered, "Why?" The original starred the top action actor of the 80s AND the 90s. It had state of the art special effects, a great cast, and an engaging storyline. I wondered what these guys thought they could add that would make me want to watch this movie in preference to the original.

The answer is: Nothing.

* This plot is a mess
* The art direction seemed fixed on Garbage/Slum Deco
* There were literally no special effects that I preferred to anything in the original
* I didn't find anything clever to make me think the writers/director had an original thought in their heads
* The acting is rather blah and unconvincing
* They failed to "sell" their bad guy or his "evil plot" ... they did nothing in the story to make me care

The only bright spot I can see to this film is that it failed so miserably at the box office ($125 million estimated budget, $59 million US box office) that hopefully decision makers will think long and hard about letting the people responsible for this loser make any more films. This director also made what most consider to be the worst of the "Die Hard" series (not easy to screw up with Bruce Willis as your star, either), and the principal writer has only impressed me with his "Thomas Crown Affair" remake.

This was an utter waste of an evening for my wife and I. I've been watching movies for a LONG time now, and I have never really made a decision on whether or not to watch a film based on who the writers and director are. I may have to start paying attention to that. These guys who think that a frenetic action pace covers up for nonsense plotting are getting more and more common in Hollywood. They are badly deluded and I don't want to be suckered into any more of their failures.

But hey, if you like 118 minutes of virtually non-stop chase sequences that don't contain any logic or make any sense, then you'll just love this film. LOL
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on February 26, 2015
The ideas in this movie are fantastic. Some of the "science" is a bit laughable, but if you can ignore it, this is a great movie. Well, it could have been. Unfortunately it feels like there was a conscious attempt to pander to people who would not have any interest in thinking about the movie. If 30 minutes of the gratuitous action sequences were cut from the movie (not sure that it matters which 30 minutes) I would probably give it five stars.
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on February 18, 2015
This Review is for the 4k Version of the movie.

The movie looks good, and the only issue I have with this version of the film is the false advertising on the cover. The film is not in 4k. It very clearly states on the back of the cover that the resolution of the feature film is 1080p. The picture on Amazon conveniently shows just the front of the cover.

The 'expanded color' range doesn't make up for missing 3/4 of the pixels.

Just be aware of this if you are thinking this would be a nice way to test out the '4K-ness' of your tv.
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on April 13, 2014
In all honestly in comparison, the remake with Colin Farrell is much better graphically. That said, it just doesn't hold up to the original. Farrell does a decent job portraying the main character but Schwartzenegger just does a better job.

Bokeem Woodbine always lends a well played role as does Bill Nighy. However, Nighy is so one dimensional any role he plays is the same role over an over. But you know what you're going to get when you sign him up.

Enjoy both movies for what they are: movies. Enjoy the fact that the 2012 version has great graphics. Enjoy the fact that the 1990 version is the original.
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on November 20, 2014
Though the production value was high, the final result is dismal. The special effects are good, the fight choreography is rather good, it boasts an all star cast, it has an interesting environment that looks like a cross between Star Wars super cities and Blade Runner industrial darkness, and that is about all that is good. Too many stunt scenes, non-stop edge of your seat "excitement" with almost no plot, and characters with little depth (one dimensional in many cases). The mystery about whether the experience is real or Rekall is explored only superficially. The movie is basically one big chase scene (running from his overzealous wife, played by Kate Beckinsale). It has nothing to do with mutants, Mars, control of the air you breathe, or anything that made the original movie so intriguing. There is nothing wrong with changing elements or expanding upon elements of a story; the problem is, the story was almost eliminated in exchange for non-stop "action". The central futuristic ideas are some absurd notion of travelling through the Earth's core to get between Britain and Australia (everywhere else on Earth is toxic wasteland), and "synthetics" (robot police/soldiers, which are central to the story but ultimately almost completely irrelevant). Spoiler Alert: There is no saving the world in any form; the core elevator thing gets blown up, preventing an invasion of synthetics from Britain to Australia. That's it. Yet the movie ends as if this has actually accomplished something. Finally, there appears to be very little chemistry between Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel.
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