August 5, 2012

Total Recall

Total Recall 2012
Carolyn and I saw Total Recall the other day.  This is my take on it.

First of all, before I go into too much, be advised I'll try to keep from including any spoilers, but anything I say will have to be some sort of spoiler.  Second is the first possible spoiler: this movie is not a remake of the 1990 movie.

Instead it is essentially a new story based off the same source material and has a few elements that were taken from the earlier film.  There was a definite homage in the form of the three-breasted woman and they re-used some of the names.

Total Recall Homage
Don't you wish you had three hands?
I liked the movie quite a bit.  The story was exciting and much better than it was in 1990.  It felt much more sci-fi than the earlier film did, but as soon as I accepted that this wasn't a remake, or really even a "re-envisioning", I quickly stopped attempting to compare the two.  This helped with my overall enjoyment.

There were really only two things that pulled me out of the movie.  One was big, huge to me, and the other small, and still huge to me.  The first is definitely a spoiler, even though a good deal of information is presented in the opening sequence.

Total Recall takes place on a not-too-distant future Earth.  The planet has been ravaged by chemical warfare to the extent that only England and Australia remain habitable.  About 2/3rds of the way through the movie the protagonists board an old subway car that gets pressurized to travel out to the "no-go zone".  While it isn't safe in this area, limited travel is obviously OK with the use of gas masks.  Once out of the elements they have to go through some sort of airlock to be able to take off their masks.

Only a gas mask?
Now I cannot speak for everyone, but most veterans probably underwent some level of chemical warfare training.  Gas masks are not the end-all of force protection measures in chemical warfare.  The protagonists were pretty beat up by this point in the movie and they had numerous cuts, scrapes all over their bodies.  This no-go zone was so dangerous that it extinguished all life it came in contact with, but it was ok to go out with exposed flesh?

The second thing occurred during a knife fight.  One guy pulled a knife on another and in the ensuing fight the knife was kicked away.  The knife was recovered and brandished with a bit of flourish, along with a rather loud, "schwing".  The knife was already drawn.....even if it was capable of making that sound, it would have made it when first drawn, not simply picked up a second time.

It was like hearing the Wilhelm Scream at an inappropriate time.

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