What’s not to love about Total Recall? It has a screenplay by Dan O’Bannon (Alien), based the short story, “We can Remember it for you Wholesale”, by Philip K Dick. It has Arnie at the height of his pomp, as both action hero and comedic foil. And, underpinning it all, is Director Paul Verhoeven’s (RoboCop) trademark mix of social-commentary and high-octane violence.
When it was released, back in 1990, many critics felt that Total Recall fell short of Verhoeven’s previous works. Others, praised its “sublime” treatment of Dick’s mind-bending material, in which a lowly construction-worker may or may not be an agent of an evil mega-corp, intent on suppressing a worker’s uprising on Mars. In fact, the audience is kept guessing about the nature of reality right up to the final scene.
However as time has moved on, Total Recall has proved not just its staying power, but it’s status as a genuine cult classic. StudioCanal’s 30th Anniversary re-release was no therefore surprise. But what is a surprise—and a delight—is the work that’s gone into their magnificent 4k restoration. Verhoeven himself commented: “I just saw the 4k…of my movie and it’s absolutely wonderful… there is so much detail you could say it is 3-dimensional. Bravo!”
The re-release comes as a Steelbook, blu-ray, 1 and 2-disc DVD. And, while the 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition and Steelbook are a joy to behold even the 1-disc DVD includes a commentary from Verhoeven and Arnie.
If you’ve somehow missed the original, 1990, Total Recall, then do yourself a favour and get your ass to Mars.