Total Recall - Blu-ray Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 48 Old 12-22-12, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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Total Recall - Blu-ray Review

Title: Total Recall
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, Bill Nighy, John Cho
Directed by: Len Wiseman
Written by: Kurt Wimmer, Mark Bomback
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Main Audio: English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD
Studio: Total Recall, Original Film
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 130 min
Blu-ray Release Date: December 18 2012

HTS Overall Score:


After a frustrating day at work assembling synthetic police officers Douglas Quaid (Farrell) takes the recommendation of a co-worker and visits Rekall, a high-tech lounge specializing in escapism in the form of implanting memories that the customer can later recount. The only stipulation is the requested memories of the fake life can’t already have happened; which would lead to complications and confusion within the brain. Quaid picks the tantalizing memory of being a former secret agent and sits down in the apparatus to go forth with the procedure. As he’s being hooked up, including intravenously McLane (Cho), the operator starts to run a scan for any possible memory overlaps and although Quaid swore he’s never been a secret agent, a conflict pops up and McLane quickly orders the procedure to stop; why the scan wasn’t finished before the intravenous commenced didn’t make any sense. In any case there’s a bit of chaos before a squad of armed men forcefully enter the room and kill everyone but Quaid, who using tactics apparently learned prior swiftly dispenses of them. Leaving behind a mess and scattered dead police officers Quaid rushes home and tells his wife Lori (Beckinsale) of what just transpired.
She accepts the story as nonsense, but then as the two are embracing she starts to choke Quaid who fights back in a confused and bewildered state. He escapes from his apartment and becomes a hunted man as the media get a hold of his picture and the police blame him as the sole killer at the Rekall lounge. Is Quaid a traitor, a simple factory worker remembering Rekall memories, an actual highly trained intelligence agent, or a little from column A and a little from column B?

As the nearly nonstop action continues Quaid starts to unravel the confusing situation he’s in using a few different methods, all which result in the fact that the secret he holds is very consequential to life on planet Earth, but the secret ingrained in his brain is just boring and far from cool and epic in scope, unlike the secret Arnold Schwarzenegger had in the 1990 original. After that disappointment the movie didn’t mean all that much to me and although I wasn’t actually bored I sort of fell into an autopilot zone until the very end.

As for the action, it’s pretty routine yet entertaining. There’s a lot of Farrell running and jumping to ledges, falling through awnings and roofs of different sorts, and constantly dodging and evading gunshots and waves of bullets fired by his enemies who, unsurprisingly are perpetually missing. There’s a good variety of camera angles that let you experience Quaid’s numerous falls from different perspectives. Quaid should have been a cyborg considering the amount of physical pain he takes and amount of seemingly endless energy he exerts fighting off whoever intends to do him harm. Despite the wild and crazy chase scenes and ridiculous escapes by Quaid, which there are plenty of, everything is orchestrated in a pretty slick manner, especially since the environments and CGI look amazing.

The performances from the actors aren’t going to garner any Academy Award nominations, but everyone involved does the best they can with the script and dialogue. Farrell does a great job as the lead and really commits to the role. The dialogue isn’t intense or corny, but plausible and well written. Beckinsale transfers her -kicking skills from the Underworld series and I liked bits of the physical performance, but for the most part I found it rather unconvincing. Add to that she never looked frazzled. There’s a moment where she gives a determined stare into the camera following an intense physical confrontation and her hair and makeup look as if she came off a runway shoot. Bryan Cranston is just good as Chancellor Cohaagen, Jessica Biel as Melina, a girl Quaid initially sees in a dream is completely forgettable, and Woodbine playing Harry Quaid’s friend is amiable, but also replaceable.

The storyline starts off confusing and doesn’t throttle back too much. I think this was predetermined, as a strategy to keep the audience guessing and more importantly interested. The haziness concerning what reality Quaid is living in leaves its mark, but appreciably not in a real ambiguous way. Toward the middle and especially at the end I felt indifferent toward the entire effect of Rekall. This could be problematic for some viewers because if you don’t care in what reality Quaid is in, in turn you might not care about the actual movie.


PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity, and language.


From the opening credits the sub-woofer comes to life and starts to rumble shaking the entire room. It never lets up and leaves a very impactful and lasting impression. The action is quick to start with rapid gunfire giving off a pronounced heavy sound. Rain, moving vehicles and people walking through the streets are nicely dispersed throughout all the speakers. Beeps, buzzes and other future computer familiar sounds are nicely integrated. Dialogue is prioritized to sound crisp despite the sometimes chaotic setting. Directional effects are used constantly and heavy, which is a good thing because it really immerses you in the fictional world. Punches, elbows to the face and other physical acts have that distinct over the top Hollywood flavour. The last act in Total Recall is a sonic delight. Explosions and huge things crashing against each other sound magnificent. The speakers and sub-woofer go into overtime emitting louds of lows. The score gets your adrenaline pumping as it swells to match the increasing level of action. I was blown away by the sonic atmosphere created on this Blu-ray. There is never a dull sounding moment.


There was no expense spared when creating the futuristic world in Total Recall. Not only are the actual physical sets complex and expansive the CGI looks beautiful, especially the aerial shots of the city in the sky. There is a level of refinement in the towering buildings and other structures that you rarely see in movie heavily laden with computer generated cityscapes. The dwellings gleam and shine and have a polished look to them with texturing plainly visible. Interior portions of the city are dazzling with lights strewn through the pathways. Detail in clothing is very high and facial features like wrinkles and five o’clock shadows look great. Indoor scenes despite lacking a lot of light look fantastic. Total Recall has a distinct color palette using a variety of grays and greens. The dystopian world is bleak and rainy with black levels and contrasts representing that. The many explosions resulting in bright billowing fireballs and other minor booms also look fantastic and real. Every time something explodes it is a visual treat. The hallmark of Total Recall are the uncompromised visuals that blend perfectly with real physical sets. If the actual movie didn’t meet your standards or you though it wasn’t really a remake per se, you’ll have to agree that this 1080p is something to marvel at. Rent the movie for the looks if nothing else.


Disc One:
-Audio Commentary with director Len Wiseman
-Total Recall: Insight Mode
-Previews: Seven Psychopaths, Resident Evil: Retribution, Men in Black 3, Premium Rush

Disc Two:
-Gag Reel
-Science Fiction vs. Science Fact
-Designing the Fall
-Total Action
-Stepping into Recall: Pre-Visualization Sequences
-Video Game Demo: God of War: Ascension for the Playstation 3


Total Recall on a large scope is a nearly two hour long (theatrical version), two hour plus (extended version) chase scene with Farrell narrowly escaping death a handful of times. It definitely falls under the category of a fun summer popcorn film. The immense detailed world created for this movie is truly topnotch, a real pleasure to look at and that’s the movie’s hallmark. The acting and dialogue are enjoyable. My only real lasting gripe is the unimaginative (for me that is) secret Quaid has. It’s linked to another rather vanilla aspect within the entire storyline and something previously seen (Will Smith – 2004) in a science-fiction action movie.

Total Recall pays homage by re-enacting scenes from its predecessor a few times (sort of), but overall I’d say it is a standalone movie very much worth renting and watching on a large screen with the volume turned up.

Buy Total Recall on Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Buy It!
Watch the Official Trailer

Last edited by Mike Edwards; 02-01-13 at 05:48 PM.
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post #2 of 48 Old 12-22-12, 07:21 AM
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Thanks for the review Peter. I agree that both audio and video were outstanding. The first half of the movie was quite enjoyable though I felt the last half and ending was lacking. I loved the twist with the old lady passing through the checkpoint by the way. Definitely worthy of at least a rental and for some maybe a buy.
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post #3 of 48 Old 12-22-12, 12:58 PM
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Re: Total Recall - Blu-ray review

Thanks for the review Peter!

I saw this one at the theater and felt the same way - while the Arnold version was a bit cornier, I thought it had a better overall storyline. However, it is a visual and audio treat. I am looking forward to watching it in the HT just to hear how the end sounds!
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post #4 of 48 Old 12-22-12, 03:33 PM
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Re: Total Recall - Blu-ray review


I know I'm going to end up seeing this just because it looks like great HT material, but I wish I were as sure that I will enjoy it.

I guess we'll see...

Thanks for the review!
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post #5 of 48 Old 12-23-12, 04:17 AM
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Re: Total Recall - Blu-ray review

Thanks for the review. I was on the fence on whether to purchase this, but think I'm convinced.


Happy Listening!!! Listen with an open mind and heart!!!
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post #6 of 48 Old 12-24-12, 09:34 AM
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Re: Total Recall - Blu-ray review

The movie arrived the other day and I put it in the player and hit play..after that I was not sure if I was watching Blade Runner or Total Recall. This movie is non stop action, motion, sound, visuals and everything else but an involving story. I could of course be mistaken and may have been in a poor mood, but this was really a hard movie to hang with, maybe because so much was happening. The image and sound were very good with the soundtrack following the motion in the movie very well, so from that point of view, someone really took the time to fill in the aural action.

I agree this is definitely a rent first and if you like it buy it, but it will test your senses either way.

I do have an issue with the soundtrack in that it had a good number of drop outs throughout the entire movie. It had to be a disc issue as my player is good and I even cleaned the disc ahead of time. Not sure what was going on here

Good Listening


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Last edited by Savjac; 12-24-12 at 09:51 AM.
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post #7 of 48 Old 12-24-12, 06:15 PM
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Re: Total Recall - Blu-ray review

Enjoyed the movie but several audio dropouts. Contacted Oppo who said they were aware of the issue and will issue a firmware upgrade or Sony will reissue the disc. They suggested a temporary fix is to change audio from bitstream to LPCM.

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Screen- Elunevision 140 inch 4K Audio Weave. Aspect ratio 2.35 gain 1.2 fixed screen
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post #8 of 48 Old 12-25-12, 12:35 PM
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I enjoyed the movie for what I could hear. There were so many audio drop outs it almost became unwatchable. I switched blu-ray players but still happened. I will probably need to exchange it?
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post #9 of 48 Old 12-25-12, 12:41 PM
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Re: Total Recall - Blu-ray review

musikpirate wrote: View Post
I enjoyed the movie for what I could hear. There were so many audio drop outs it almost became unwatchable. I switched blu-ray players but still happened. I will probably need to exchange it?
it's not your discs fault (well it is kinda, but it's not an issue that can be fixed by exchanging). what is happening is your player is having a problem with the new updated copy protection scheme that Sony implemented in this disc (it happened with Disney and Brave and a few other titles over the last year or so). What's gonna need to happen is the players that are affected by this issue will have to wait for a firmware update to fix this issue. however switch your player from Bitsreaming DTS-HD MA to LPCM output and you should be good to go until the firmware updates come out.
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post #10 of 48 Old 12-25-12, 11:01 PM
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Thank you for the explanation Mike. I did notice this with brave but it only happened about twice on it. Happened about every ten minutes with Total Recall. My Sony sits downstairs and is not connected to the internet. When I hooked it up upstairs there was an update that I installed but didn't help. I will keep checking for newer updates.
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