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Future shock: Echoes of Second World War iconography are never far away in Total Recall. Tacky twist: For reasons best known to themselves, the Amish builders here not only agree to submit to one of the 21st-century’s greatest evils, reality television, but also allow themselves to be bossed about by a 1990s one-hit wonder they have never heard of in Vanilla Ice Goes Amish.
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Elite killing machines: Commando School takes us inside the most arduous military training program in the world.

Elite killing machines: Commando School takes us inside the most arduous military training program in the world.

Future shock: Echoes of Second World War iconography are never far away in Total Recall.

Tacky twist: For reasons best known to themselves, the Amish builders here not only agree to submit to one of the 21st-century’s greatest evils, reality television, but also allow themselves to be bossed about by a 1990s one-hit wonder they have never heard of in Vanilla Ice Goes Amish.

Elite killing machines: Commando School takes us inside the most arduous military training program in the world.

Future shock: Echoes of Second World War iconography are never far away in Total Recall.

Tacky twist: For reasons best known to themselves, the Amish builders here not only agree to submit to one of the 21st-century’s greatest evils, reality television, but also allow themselves to be bossed about by a 1990s one-hit wonder they have never heard of in Vanilla Ice Goes Amish.

Elite killing machines: Commando School takes us inside the most arduous military training program in the world.

New release: Pokemon Omega Ruby Alpha/Sapphire.

Legend: Muhammad Ali.

New release: Pokemon Omega Ruby Alpha/Sapphire.

New release: Pokemon Omega Ruby Alpha/Sapphire.

Legend: Muhammad Ali.

New release: Pokemon Omega Ruby Alpha/Sapphire.

Legend: Muhammad Ali.

GAMES

POKEMON OMEGA RUBY/ALPHA SAPPHIRE, 3DS

New releases have been a bit thin on the ground for Nintendo’s handheld, which is possibly why they’ve chosen to freshen up two classic Pokemon titles (which first appeared on the Gameboy Advance as plain old Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire). Of course, it barely matters that the core content is rehashed since young players won’t have played the original, and all the Pokemon titles going back 20 years are basically the same game anyway, with a few tweaks. As always, the appeal lies in collecting wild Pokemon (in the time-honoured fashion of battling them, defeating them, and capturing them in your Pokeball) then employing them against the rival trainers you run into on your travels. Remaking the two original games has seen the addition of several new features including DexNav, a radar-like device that makes capturing wild Pokemon easier; 3D gameplay; and a handful of Pokemon can now reach a Mega Evolved form (for the uninitiated, Pokemon they start out as cute little babies and evolve into monsters; this time around they can grow even stronger, which is the key to success when challenging opponents online). Promises many, many hours of entertainment. AH

FREE TO AIR

COMMANDO SCHOOL, MONDAY DECEMBER 1, SBS, 8.30PM

This eight-part documentary series takes us inside purportedly the most arduous military training program in the world at the British Royal Marines’ Commando training Centre, Lympstone, in Devon. The series follow 56 new recruits being put through 32 weeks’ training, and this opener is their rude awakening, known as “shock of capture”. So far though,  it’s not exactly Platoon – these fresh-faced recruits are struggling with their new regime although much of it, at least in this episode, doesn’t seem too hardcore: they’re forced to sleep nude (expect lots of pixelation), learn to iron and even given lessons in shaving etiquette. Then there’s one marine who is medically discharged because of his eczema problem. But Commando School mixes fly-on-the-wall documentary with the reality show format of the recruits’ back stories and even interviews with their mums, and could be an interesting spin on the Big Brother-style format; here, as the program progresses, rather than their personalities being revealed they’ll presumably be stamped out as they’re transformed into elite killing machines. KN

DVD

TOTAL RECALL, Universal (MA)

The Dutch emigre Paul Verhoeven is at his brutal near-best in this handsome, extremely violent 1990 science-fiction blockbuster, based on a story by Philip K. Dick. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a dissatisfied construction worker who signs up with a company that promises to supply him with a false memory of an action-packed trip to Mars; after the procedure seemingly goes wrong, he winds up getting more or less exactly what he bargained for. Typical of Verhoeven is the contempt for humanity at large – including both the hero and the viewer – and the fact that the most sympathetic characters are a bunch of sleazy mutants; typical, too, is the paranoid plot with its betrayals, conspiracies and double agents, in which echoes of Second World War iconography are never far away. JW

PAY TV

VANILLA ICE GOES AMISH, SATURDAY, LIFESTYLE HOME, 7.30PM

If a white rapper were to immerse himself in a Hasidic Jewish community for the purpose of making, obscurely, a home renovation show, all the while poking fun at his hosts’ funny clothing and trying to get them to loosen up through the joy of hip hop, would it be acceptable television? Of course not. We would be repelled by the cultural insensitivity. Yet it’s somehow deemed harmlessly amusing to do exactly that to Amish people in the Ohio countryside. For reasons best known to themselves, the Amish builders here not only agree to submit to one of the 21st-century’s greatest evils, reality television, but also allow themselves to be bossed about by a 1990s one-hit wonder they have never heard of. What begins as a potentially enlightening social experiment quickly segues into Backyard Blitz, as Vanilla Ice puts his tacky twist on the pergolas and barns the Amish effortlessly construct. BM

DOCUMENTARY

I AM ALI, Universal Sony (PG)

Muhammad Ali is a legend. This documentary, with guidance from executive producers John Battsek and Simon Chinn (who were both involved in the excellent docos Searching for Sugar Man and The Imposter), reveals much about Ali. Interviews provide insight into his personal life, particularly those with two of his daughters, Maryum and Hana. He was married four times and had nine children. We are driven through the streets of Louisville, Kentucky, where he grew up, and are treated to insights from his brother, his trainer, even Tom Jones, who went a practice round with him at his mountain training camp. The footage of Ali speaking about his conversion to Islam, his draft resister status and his career more generally are pure gold. JK

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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