There are certain films that aim to entertain and try their very hardest to keep the audience entertained, if not on the edge of their seat, but rarely are they also capable of making the audience think. This movie is fun from start to finish, but it also manages to keep you thinking about reality and the implications of the ideas presented in the movie.
Total Recall is certainly one of the better films to come from director Paul Verhoeven whose career I must say has its ups and down. He's has RoboCop, which I also thought was a fun action/satire, but then films such as Starship Troopers had me far less impressed. He is certainly better when adapting short stories in a satirical fashion than he is adapting professionally written stories and trying to satirize them like he did with Starship Troopers- Verhoeven's resulting film seeming more like an insult to its source material instead of an adaptation.
Total Recall movie is based on a short story by the late Philip K. Dick, who also wrote the stories behind Blade Runner, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly. Unlike Blade Runner and Minority Report this is one of the more satirical approaches on sci-fi and it does have some good laughs among its fun sets and action, but like those two films it provides some of the best science-fiction imagery to date.
Of course, being released in 1990, what better male lead in an action film than Arnold Schwarzenegger? Now, the future California Governor has never been the best actor, but he manages to find one of his stand-out roles in Douglass Quaid, a man who is under constant danger and isn't even capable of knowing whether the dangers he faces are real or not!
Tired with his life as a construction worker Douglass Quaid is set on having a vacation to Mars. Only problem is he's a tad bit low on cash and his wife isn't very keen on taking a trip to the Martian surface- which is currently under a state of civil unrest and urban warfare between the mutants and the evil business leader, Vilos Cohaagon, who quite literally has an airtight grip over the citizens of Mars. Since going to Mars is out of the question Quaid goes for the next best thing: fake memories.
After a visit to Rekall he has it arranged for him to be given a vacation to Mars from the perspective of a secret agent on a crucial mission. This dream comes a bit too true as he is thrust into a fight for his life, never knowing whether or not what he is seeing is real or not. The audience can't tell for that matter for there is enough evidence to support either option.
Total Recall is good escapist entertainment and is often quite funny in a black sort of way. Arnold Schwarzenegger is charismatic in the lead and manages to deliver several good one-liners (other than the cheesy "Screw you!"). The art direction, special effects, costumes, make-up, and sets are all quite convincing and fun to look at and overall it is a film that always keeps your attention in some form or another. I give a strong recommendation to Total Recall, but the film does seem to stay in check and never take to initiative to go above and beyond like Blade Runner and Minority Report have.
I first watched Total Recall on a premium channel (probably HBO) back in late 1993/early 1994 and thought it was awesome, and like all prime movies, they get better the older you get. When it comes to Arnold Schwarzenegger's movies, people seem to think that the first two Terminator movies and possibly Predator are his best, and while I think all of them are fantastic flicks, I personally think Total Recall is Arnie's best movie. STORY In the year 2084, a man named … more
Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is uneasy. Things are not right in the world. Sure, he has a nice place to live, a decent job in construction, and a beautiful wife (Sharon Stone) -- but he has a feeling he is missing out on something, that there is something false about his life, and that his destiny is elsewhere, maybe on Mars. He watches the news, reports of terrorist attacks, and reassurances of the government that everything is under control. He dreams of walking the red soil with a woman who … more
This science fiction blockbuster from 1990 began its production life as a very different movie than the one that was released. An adaptation of the Philip K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,"Total Recallwas originally conceived of with Richard Dreyfuss starring as a Walter Mitty-like character who experiences a variety of artificially induced fantasies. The movie we know is a mega-budget action epic set on Mars. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a normal working man who discovers that his entire reality has been invented to conceal a plot of planetary domination. Oscar-winning special effects and violent action propel the twisting plot, in which Arnold manipulates his manipulators in a world of dazzling high technology. Director Paul Verhoeven (Robocop) indulges his usual penchant for gratuitous bloodshed, but the movie has enough cleverness to rise above its excesses.--Jeff Shannon