I‘m not really a fan of Dick (prolific 60’s science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, of course). I’ve never made it through Blade Runner without falling asleep, admired A Scanner Darkly purely for its innovative visual style and, though I’ve read several of his novels, I find his spontaneous approach to plotting unsatisfying, but I appreciate his visionary concepts and radical yet plausible predictions of the progression of then-modern culture.
Total Recall is based on one of his short stories, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. In the year 2048, technology has advanced to allow people to be implanted with memories of lives and vacations they otherwise could never experience. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s frustrated Doug Quaid undergoes such a treatment, only for something to go wrong. He awakes to discover the memory he requested may well be of a life that’s already his, but pleasingly this is left slightly open-ended come the conclusion of the film. There are some memorable touches, including robotic taxis, a confrontation behind a giant x-ray, the infamous triple-breasted hooker and a mutant creature growing on a man’s chest, but the overcomplicated plotting, featuring too many twists, betrayals and switched allegiances, leaves the movie far too close to one of Dick’s own novels for my liking, and the cars look as though they were rendered on a PlayStation. That being said, Michael Ironside is gloriously unhinged as bad guy Rictor.
Choose life 6/10