What Not To Watch: Total Reality
I want to begin this review by stating that I’m in no way a David Bradley hater. But for some reason, David Bradley’s filmography seems to contain more losers than it does winners. Is it bad representation or just plain bad luck?
Maybe it is a lack of options? I get it, if you are an actor, you want to be working. Sitting at home does not pay the bills. So sometimes you have to say yes and star in movies with Frank Zagarino or even star in movies like 1997’s Total Reality.
- Misnomer: Why is a movie about a group of soldiers from the future that are sent back to 1998 to prevent the events that would eventually destroy the Earth as we know it called Total Reality?!?! The title literally has nothing to do with any aspect of the plot. The name doesn’t even sound like something that came out of the action movie name generator. It actually seems like the producers of the movie were trying to confuse the movie going public into thinking their piece of crap movie had something to do with the vastly superior Arnold Schwarzenegger film, Total Recall. And if that was the case, way to strike while the iron was hot guys! Total Recall was released in 1990, seven years before Total Reality was on the shelf at Blockbuster Video.
- Motley Crew: David Bradley’s character in Total Reality is named Anthony Rand. Rand along with three other soldiers who were sentenced to death in a military prison are given a chance for a full pardon if they go on what is more or less a suicide mission back in time. Bradley holds his own as the leader of the four person squad but the team he is surrounded by is made up of two actors and an actress that are greener than goose shit. The actress that played Wingate, the mission’s ace pilot, was on a special level of suck. Perhaps they could have afforded another seasoned actor or two if they cut back on all the “sweet” CGI used for much of the first act of the film. With the exception of David Bradley and Ken Olandt (who you may remember from Digital Man or the Super Force TV series), none of the actors or actresses in Total Reality were recognizable to me. And Olandt’s appearance in the film was nothing more than a glorified cameo. The only other characters who brought anything significant to the table were Commander Tunis, the movie’s antagonist played by Thomas Kretschmann and the lead female character, Cathy Easton. Easton was played by Ely Pouget, who prior to working with David Bradley in Total Reality worked with such luminaries as William Hootkins, Michael Rooker, Brad Dourif and R. Lee Ermey.
- Time Travel Woes: The first rule of watching a time travel movie is to not think too much about the physics behind what the movie is presenting. A person can drive themselves mad trying to logically think how time travel would work in the real world. And speaking of logic, there are often more holes in time travel movie logic than in a piece of swiss cheese. With all that said, I still found myself violating the first rule of watching a time travel movie and really questioning one significant happening in Total Reality. What I am about to share with all of you does contain plot spoilers, so for those defiant ones out there who still intend on watching this movie, even after I’ve warned you not to, you have been given the appropriate spoiler warning as has been outlined in The Geneva Convention. When Commander Swift (Ken Olandt) sends Rand and his crew back in time, it is established that the team has only 40 hours to complete their mission. Once the 40 hours is up, the biotracker implants that are in their necks will explode and they will die. This fail safe was also used to make sure none of them decided to just say screw it and hang out in 1998. When this “exciting” mission is over and done with, Wingate is the only member of the team to actually make it back to the ship in time to return to the future before the 40 hour window expired. When Wingate arrives in the future, everything has changed. Commander Swift isn’t there to greet her because thanks to the events that happened in 1998, he may or may not have ever existed. Wingate is picked up by some intrepid travelers who were headed back to Earth after visiting some outer space colonies. When Wingate mentions to her new found friends that she needs to have the tracker removed from her neck, they scan her and find NO tracker! So why does Rand, who stayed behind in 1998 to help Cathy Easton, die when the tracker in his neck blows up?!? Why did his tracker not disappear the same way that Wingate’s did?!?! C’mon Total Reality! You can make up whatever time travel rules you’d like but they should be consistent across the board!
Total Reality proved to be a total waste of time and another unfortunate entry in the filmography of David Bradley. I may be exaggerating when I say that serving time in a futuristic military prison may actually be more enjoyable than watching Total Reality. But until someone from a futuristic military prison travels back in time to tell me that it is not the case, I’m going to stand by the statement.