The sensibility of this version is different. Totally different. 😉
I like the overall feel of this version better than that of the 1990 movie, but the story is much, much worse. The conflict between the haves and the have-nots doesn’t hold up. The resolution is not one.
I’ve written about Total Recall (2012) before. Here’s what I have to say this time. Beware spoilers.
Similarities and Callbacks
The movie starts with a dream, from which an ordinary man wakes up. His wife reassures him, but when he goes to work he’s distracted and considers an advertisement offering to implant exotic memories. A coworker advises against it. He goes anyway, passing a prostitute who says he’s going to wish he had three hands.
The Rekall procedure goes wrong before it starts. He kills some people and goes home, where his wife tries to kill him. He escapes and a friend contacts him by video call. He collects some stuff and a message from himself. There’s a safe(ty) deposit box. He goes to the port disguised… there’s a fat woman in yellow that looks like the 1990 disguise, but that’s not him. The disguise fails, the police notice him, and he runs.
He’s rescued by the woman in his dream. She takes him to see the rebel leader. The bad guy arrives and kills the rebel leader and thanks him for his good work, saying he’s an undercover agent whether he likes it or not. He gets put in another memory machine but struggles free and gains the upper hand in a final confrontation, saving the underdogs just like the hero he dreamed of being.
Terrorists (freedom fighters) are bombing the wealthy United Federation of Britain to protest the crowded conditions in the Colony on the other side of the planet, from which they commute through the center of the planet via The Fall to work in factories making synthetic soldiers.
Actually—plot twist—the bombings are being orchestrated by the leader of the UFB, not the Colonists, so that he can declare war on them and wipe them out with the synthetic soldiers they’ve been building and take their land. The hero supposedly knows a code that will deactivate all the synthetic soldiers. In fact, he doesn’t, but he stops them by blowing up The Fall while they’re all on board. Now nobody can go through the planet in either direction.
Um… yay? I mean, did the “hero” really solve more problems than he created? What a mess. Gimme back the plot about alien technology on Mars. That was more believable.