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August 4, 2012

Movie Review: Total Recall (1990, Blu-ray)

Arguably one of the best early 90's sci-fi/action films, Total Recall, is seeing a release to the Blu-ray format thanks to the folks at Lionsgate films. This classic Arnie vehicle is also seeing a remake starring Colin Ferrell and Jessica Biel. Next to Terminator and Terminator II: Judgment Day it's my personal favorite movie starring the "Governator" himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. To put it mildly, I'm very pleased to see this film in High Definition.

Based on Philip K. Dick's short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, Paul Verhoeven's Total Recal has Arnie as our titular charachter Douglas Quaid. A hard-working construction worker and loyal husband to his wife (Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct) just looking for a little escape.

Quaid keeps having these nasty, reoccurring nightmares about visiting mars, at the same time he's fascinated with the Red Planet. Rekall Inc. seems the way to go to get the experience via memory implantation. What sounds like a nifty idea at first leads to whole lot of trouble for Doug.

Paul Verhoeven has to be the closest thing to a high concept exploitation filmmaker that has gotten behind a camera. Total Recall is outrageous in its depictions of violence (with some amazing FX courtesy of Rob Bottin) and also a couple of show-stopping baddies in Richter ( Michael Ironside, Scanners) and Cohaagen (Ronny Cox, Deliverance, Robocop). Both Ironside and Cox eat up every minute their on screen. It's really fun to see them get rolling.

Lionsgate has jam-packed the Blu-ray with a host of extras that includes numerous interviews, behind-the-scenes material showcasing the very cool miniature FX. Total Recall has some pre-CGI brilliance and watching these make you wish there was more practical effects in film today.

The audio commentary with Schwarzenegger and Verhoeven is carried over from the previous release. Arnold is surprisingly funny and both gentlemen are very candid. If you’re interested in seeing how the original film elements look before it’s High Definition transfer, we get a brand-new comparison between the two versions. Also, exclusive to the Blu-ray is a new interview with Paul Verhoeven.

Whether you’re getting ready to see the remake and wanna take a look the original before you go, or if you’re a diehard, this is a no-brainer with the cool extras and fantastic transfer. Take a trip back to Mars, you’ll thank me later. Recommended.

Blu-ray screencaps courtesy of Rock! Shock! Pop!

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