One of the perks of being a super-spy is getting the coolest kit, so it's only fitting that Total Recall -- the story of a man who may or may not be the future's top secret agent -- is stuffed to bursting with cool gadgets.
Starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel, this new riff on the 1990 Arnie sci-fi classic is a breakneck race through future cities full of robot policemen, hover cars and very cool fridges. Read our review here, or read on for our spoiler-free look at the coolest gadgets of Total Recall.
Everybody has dreams and fantasies: winning the match, being a film star, or owning an iPhone with a battery that lasts longer than a few hours. Those dreams are hard enough to achieve now, let alone in the post-apocalyptic wastelands of Total Recall. But this is the future, and anything's possible, just by taking a trip to Rekall.
At Rekall, punters can choose from a smorgasbord of experiences to be implanted alongside their real memories. They can remember it for you wholesale, in fact.
Haunted by a vague sense of ennui and dreaming of being a super-spy, our hero Doug Quaid heads to the sleazy part of town to give Rekall a try. Which is where his troubles begin...
In the world of Total Recall, Earth is a scorched wasteland. Only two human settlements survive: the United Federation of Britain and The Colony. The only problem is, they're located on opposite sides of the planet. Fortunately, clever future boffins have built the Fall, a giant lift that links Britain and Australia, carrying workers back and forth through the centre of the planet, complete with nifty gravity reversal as they pass the Earth's core.
One of the highlights of Total Recall is a car chase with a twist. The cars in question are hover cars -- and when things get too hot on the highway they dive underneath the road to continue the chase magnetically attached to the roadway, high above a futuristic London.
The UFB and the Colony are close to being a police state, patrolled by synthetic police robots. You'd think the whole point of robot police would be that they'd be better at certain tasks than humans, such as coping with being punched in the face and shooting straight and stuff. Luckily for Quaid, that's not exactly the case.
But the robocops do have one thing going for them: a wicked cool non-lethal weapon that fires a laser-like lassoo, inescapably snaring fleeing perps and reeling them in to be arrested.
In the future, people are just as obsessed with their appearance as they are now. Tattoos are still popular, with the inevitable futuristic twist: they light up. Illuminated tattoos are just one of the forms of body modification that goes on, with another character -- familiar from the Arnie movie -- deciding that when it comes to certain body parts, the pair you're born with just aren't enough.
Holograms are everywhere in the UFB and the Colony. Holo ads pop up as you wander about the place and recordings can be made that seem to hover in front of you. You can even interact with the holograms: the computers in the Rekall centre see holographic keyboards and screens appear that the Rekall staff type on, their actions presumably registered by sensors that plot where their fingers wave in the air.
But the most fun is the interactive hologram recordings, with which you record yourself giving responses to possible questions, so when it's watched back the viewer can actually ask the recording questions and get set answers. Which is handy, because questions are one thing Quaid has no shortage of.
If phones, cameras and even microwaves can have a screen and connect to the Internet, why not a fridge? We've already seen refridgerators with high-tech additions, but the fridge in Total Recall takes things a step further with a giant screen on the door. Displaying photos of Doug and his wife and notes the couple have left for each other, it's like your Facebook page, Evernote account and loads more displayed on a giant TV -- that also keeps your beer cold. Now that's cool.
This is one gadget we'd give our right arm for -- almost literally. As elite spies (maybe), Quaid and his pursuers have a phone implanted in the palms of their hand. The phone lights up under the skin to make calls, and all you have to do is hold your hand to your ear to talk.
But just like today's blowers are about much more than making calls, so are the subdermal smart phones of the future. One thing missing from your old-fashioned low-tech human hand is a screen, a problem which these future phones solve by borrowing screens from elsewhere. Just place your hand on any piece of glass -- like some plate glass or a car window -- and that glass becomes a screen. No wonder one hapless bystander, despite witnessing some gory impromptu surgery with a broken bottle, has only one question: "Where can I get one?"