When a helicopter carrying an important cabinet minister crashes somewhere in Central America, the CIA enlists a team of mercenaries to go in and save him. What they find, however, is far from what they expected, as they become hunted by an unseen and incredibly skilled new foe. Continue reading →
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.
Film night strikes again with the Terminator. This is a film that is so deeply ingrained within popular culture that I cannot remember the first time that I saw it, and probably did not even realise it was my first time then, as the character is so well known, from the way he moves to his handful of lines of dialogue, but I tried to watch it afresh, as though it was 1984 and I’d wandered blindly into a cinema and sat down. The most surprising thing I found was that there is no indication that Schwarzenegger is a cyborg until about 45 minutes into the films, though it is now the most famous aspect of the film. Up until Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) tells Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) that he is a robot sent from the future to kill her, preventing the birth of her son and therefore the revolution against the cyborgs that he will eventually cause, we only assume that Schwarzenegger is just a specially trained, seemingly unstoppable killer, possibly a soldier or hitman of some kind. Yes there are some hints; his stiff-legged walking and even stiffer speech mannerisms, but at the time no-one would have been expecting anything more acting-wise from the former bodybuilder.