At some point in the future, crime in the United States – specifically Detroit – has become so out of control that the only way to adequately police it is with robots. Sounds cool, right? Unfortunately, the first prototypes – lumbering bipedal tanks called ED-209s – have a slight flaw that sees them killing their targets even after they’ve given themselves up. When OCP – the company charged with defending the city – opts not to use the ED-209s, an alternative solution is devised. Instead of building a robotic policeman from scratch, why not combine a critically wounded officer with replacement limbs to create the ultimate policeman. So when Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is all but killed on duty, he becomes the perfect test subject for this new directive. 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.