Total Recall: 2-Disc Extended Director's Cut (2012)

Sci-fi remake raises the action stakes but still struggles to live up to the '90s original

You really have to wonder what the thinking was behind this particular remake. It certainly wasn't to get back to the basics of the original Philip K Dick short story that both are based on.

Moreover, by stripping away the humour and ambiguity of Verhoeven's take on the material, as well as confining the story to Earth (thereby stripping it of most of the enjoyably outlandish material from the previous version), Total Recall has been transformed into just another generic sci-fi blockbuster packed with action scenes that look like they've been ripped straight from a video game – here comes the driving level, next up comes the platforming bit and so on. 

Picture: This remake of Total Recall makes a splash in hi-def. Framed at 2.40:1, the AVC 1080p encode is sensational. Detail and clarity are so refined that shots such as the close-up of Doug waking up after his dream (Chapter 1) have a genuine sense of textural depth to them.

While the colour scheme is rather muted, favouring greens, blues and blacks, the bursts of colour that illuminate the streets and buildings during Doug's search for Rekall (Chapter 3) shows just how vivid and saturated the palette can be.

In fact, our only real criticism is an aesthetic rather than stylistic one. Len Wiseman chooses to fill the screen with ridiculous amounts of lens flare, which may look pretty, but frequently blows out the brightness and softens the overall look of the picture.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: Sony Pictures delivers quite the surprise with this Blu-ray release, turning its back on DTS-HD MA in favour of a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack. Is this the start of a resurgence for the Dolby audio codec with a major Hollywood studio? We don't know. But we're delighted to say that this particular mix is absolutely magnificent.

Astonishingly powerful and aggressive, it delivers all of the bang for your buck that you'd expect while still maintaining a level of nuance and control that puts other similar mixes to shame. It's definitely a lossless soundtrack that you won't forget. Unless your mind is erased, obviously.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: As well as both the 118-minute 'theatrical cut' and a 130-minute 'extended director's cut', the first hi-def platter here also offers up a picture-in-picture 'Insight Mode' for the former, which provides a mix of interviews, storyboards, behind-the-scenes footage, animatics and trivia. There's also a traditional audio commentary for the longer edit by director Len Wiseman.

Meanwhile, the second hi-def disc houses an eight-minute gag reel, a nine-minute Science Fiction vs Science Fact featurette (exploring some of the scientific and technical concepts addressed by the film), a three-minute featurette looking at the development of the film's elevator through the centre of the Earth, seven Total Action behind-the-scenes featurettes (with a combined running time of 20 minutes) and pre-viz videos for five of the film's major action set-pieces (26 minutes in total).
Extras rating: 4/5

We say: Even a stellar Blu-ray release can't stop this big-budget sci-fi remake from feeling about as generic as they come

Sony Pictures, All-region BD, £25 Approx, On sale now