Total Recall (1990) artwork

Total Recall (1990)

1st January 2000

When Douglas Quaid gets a false memory implant of a trip to Mars it unleashes a whole new personality which leads him to Mars and a wider conspiracy.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell, Mel Johnson Jr.
Science Fiction
1 Hour 49 Minutes

Douglas Quaid is haunted by the same dream every night about a journey to Mars and a mysterious woman. He decides to find out more about his dream by purchasing a memory implant holiday from specialist company Rekall. However, during the implant process something goes terribly wrong and before passing out he starts to remember being a secret agent fighting against the evil Mars administration. Trouble is, the memory implant procedure hadn't even started and his memories appear to be of another person. Fearing the adverse publicity that this psychotic event could bring the Rekall doctors refund Quaid's money and place him in a taxi.

Waking up in the back of the taxi and not knowing where he is or where he had been he heads for home. However, now all of his friends don't appear to be as they should and they are soon trying to kill him. Even his attractive wife Lori is attacking him with a kitchen knife. Are these real events or something he's imagining from his past or memory implant procedure? But after a mysterious person gives him a suitcase, and suggests that he should wrap a wet towel around his head, Quaid discovers that his life is not really all that is seems and his 'other self' has left him detailed instructions on how to get to Mars.

With his memory still rather patchy he relies on his alter-ego leaving him clues and when he arrives on mars he heads for a hotel. After discovering that he has left a piece of paper with the name of a bar and person in the hotel safe he heads for the seedier part of town. There he joins up with old flame Melina and the underground movement who plan to overthrow the Mars administration of Vilos Cohaagen and with the help of the mysterious, and psychic, Kuato they soon discover that Cohaagen has been hiding something from the population which would ruin his highly profitable businesses and change the face of Mars forever.

I was very disappointed with sound quality of the disc. There was so little use of the surround channels and LFE's that I kept having to check my system to make sure I had it set up correctly. The front channels were good enough, with the dialogue steerage through the centre channels handled well with no bleeding. Again, the picture quality was disappointing and can only be classed as average.

Although there is no artifacting and high bit-rate throughout the film, I thought that the picture was very washed out and any lacked colour. I appreciate that the majority of the film takes place on 'the red planet' and some of the colouration was probably deliberate, but it just lacked any real depth and vibrancy. On the plus side though, and unlike the video edition, there was no colour bleeding and the DVD handled everything that was thrown at it with ease.

The thing that shocked me the most about the film was the acting. Arnold's acting was so wooden I was in stitches of laugher for most the film. I hadn't seen this film for quite a while and it really exposed how bad his acting skills really were in his early Hollywood outings. The extras didn't have me jumping for joy either. This DVD was bought during my trip to Australia, and so far, all the discs that I've bought have been encoded as both R4 and R2. This is especially interesting for people who only have R2 players and wish to obtain films earlier than the R2 release. I suppose you do run the risk that a title won't be encoded for R2, but I suspect this will be a rare occurrence. It also raises the question as the whether all R2 discs are also encoded with R4.

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