The complexities of the brain, and the ease with which it can be tricked, are the central theme of Total Recall, a testosterone-fuelled remake of the 1990 Paul Verhoeven action adventure starring Arnold Schwarzeneggar, which was inspired by Philip K Dick’s short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.
In the late 21st century, Earth is a radioactive wasteland apart from two outposts on opposite sides of the planet: the prosperous United Federation of Britain ruled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) and the polluted, rain-saturated Colony, which is home to millions of workers and the underground resistance led by Matthias (Bill Nighy).
Factory worker Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) lives in this hellhole with wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale) and travels to work in the UFB with best friend Harry (Bokeem Woodbine) via The Fall: a giant elevator running close to the Earth’s core which links the two settlements.
Unfulfilled and frustrated, Doug visits Rekall, a shadowy company which promises to realise clients’ dreams by implanting artificial memories. In Doug’s case, he wants to be a super spy.
Shortly before the procedure takes hold, Rekall technician McClane (John Cho) discovers that Doug’s memory has been wiped.
In the blink of an eye, the factory worker’s world implodes and he goes on the run in the company of rebel agent Melina (Jessica Biel).