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Total Recall (1990)

R   |    |  Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller


Total Recall (1990) Poster

When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real - or does he?

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7.5/10
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  • Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bob Tzudiker in Total Recall (1990)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall (1990)
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  • Total Recall (1990)

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20 April 2008 | Spikeopath
8
| Verhoeven bonkers adaptation of a P. K. Dick story.
Doug Quaid keeps getting recurring dreams about a visit to Mars. In spite of his friends warnings, he decides to have a memory implanted Mars holiday. But during the implantation he remembers being a secret agent who is fighting evil Mars boss Vilos Cohaagen. Things are about to go very intergalactic bonkers indeed.

Total Recall finds director Paul Verhoeven on particularly OTT form, with the often maligned director cranking up the action and violence to the max. So then, who better to play out the carnage than the big Austrian oak himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger? It was actually Schwarzenegger who brought Verhoeven into the picture. The idea for the film had been kicking around for years, a number of director's came and went, David Cronenberg famously worked on a screenplay for a year only to have it jettisoned for being too close to the P. K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale". The makers wanted a high energy sci-fi blockbuster, a star vehicle for Schwarzenegger, and Verhoeven was only too happy to oblige.

Total Recall is a fascinating concept as we find ourselves wondering what in fact is reality? Quaid himself is never quite sure as the film takes a delicious twist at the midpoint to further compound the confusion, but in true Verhoeven style, it all comes crashing together in a giant ball of bangs, crashes and explosions. It should be noted that the film is far removed from the cerebral essence of Dick's story, and really when one saw that Schwarzenegger was to star in a Verhoeven directed adaptation, one really should be prepared for the high octane brain dumb down that Total Recall is. Something which was beyond some highbrow critics who are still baffled by the gargantuan financial success of the film (it made over $260 million worldwide).

Fleshing out the cast are a stoic reliable bunch. Rachael Ticotin, Ronny Cox, Sharon Stone & Michael Ironside deliver the expected tongue in cheek professionalism. While the effects prove to be a mixture of the poor and the decent - though it's nice to see the often lost art of model work being of a pretty high standard. All of which leaves me personally with a film that I find to be a hugely enjoyable piece of uber violent popcorn fodder. 8/10

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