Total Recall (1990)

Jon's rating
Stewart's rating

Total Recall 1990Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside

Directed by: Paul Verhoeven

Written By: Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, Gary Goldman

Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 53 min

Two pence:

Dutch director Paul Verhoeven gives us another great Sci-Fi action film. Like Robocop before it, it has plenty of violence, dark humour and a very well realized, lived-in, future. Schwarzenegger blunders through the film like a bull in a China shop as an everyday construction worker, come spy, come evil conspirator who has uncertain dealings on Mars. The story is from a 23 page short by Philip K Dick and (42 drafts later) – got made into very complicated “is it real, or is it a dream?” shenanigans.

The acting by a confused but determined Schwarzenegger, duplicitous Sharon Stone and super-evil Michael Ironside & Ronny Cox, are all teetering on the edge of being over the top. Cringe worthy yet great fun is to be had as people run around shouting and shooting each other. The future tech is well thought out, and thanks to Google, we may be catching a “Johnny Cab” sooner than 2084! Before CGI, Rob Bottin, amongst others really excels here in very believable details. Who will ever forget the effects the Martian atmosphere will have on you as you choke to death whilst your eyes bulge out of your head!? It all works very well here and the film is fun and memorable even if it is overly violent and doesn’t have much in the way of sympathetic characters. The exotic sci-fi story and cool set pieces will keep you glued to your seat.

Movie Prep:

From the talent of Robocop, Bladerunner and Alien, it’s hard to go wrong here in this big, over-the-top, sci-fi chase movie. Like Schwarzenegger’s character we scramble from place to place trying to figure out if he’s on a virtual holiday inside his head, being lobotomized or on an early, planned but messed up, amnesiatic cover mission to gain trust from a resistance group in order to wipe them out!? It’s quite a ride, expect brash exuberant violence but a very detailed satisfying story.

Best Format:

The new restored HD edition finally lets you see the deep red of Mars. A nice big TV is the way to go here – watching this over the top fun on anything smaller would be a mistake.

Best Elements: << mild spoilers >>

A three breasted hooker? Arnold pulling a large tracking device out of his nose? A resistance leader discovered to be hiding under his Siamese mutant brothers shirt – growing out of his stomach? There are many strange and warped things on display here but I like the shot of a prostitute dwarf on a bar with a machine gun best! 🙂

References: IMDBRotten Tomatoes

Stewart’s two cents:

This is supremely entertaining stuff.  The technology on display is really well thought out, and the visual effects have held up very well.  It is very violent, but played in such a way to enhance the dark humor in the script. As for Schwarzenegger – this story by this director? A perfect fit for his brand of larger than life physical acting!

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