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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  • Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone in Total Recall (1990)
  • Sharon Stone in Total Recall (1990)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall (1990)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall (1990)
  • Total Recall (1990)
  • Sharon Stone in Total Recall (1990)

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31 May 2006 | gavin6942
8
| The Trilogy Needs Total Recall
When a man (Arnold Schwarzenegger) 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?

One could consider "Total Recall" part of a Philip K. Dick trilogy: Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report. With A Scanner Darkly and Paycheck (among others) creating an extended trilogy (you know, like Douglas Adams did). Total Recall is easily worthy of standing beside Blade Runner. And even as a stand-alone sci-fi film, it ranks as one of the better ones of the 1990s, if not all time.

One of the great things about Total Recall is the ambiguous nature of the story. Is it a dream? A brain embolism? Reality? Any of these has evidence to support it and also to contradict it. And this is a strength for the movie.

There is a certain absurdity with the special effects -- eyes bulging and whatnot when the people lose oxygen. In real life you would simply die in space, not explode. But at the same time this was somewhat amusing and a bit comical so it can be overlooked. Besides, coming from Rob Bottin ("The Thing"), the focus should be on the strengths of the makeup and effects and not the possible shortfalls.

The casting was great. Arnold was a great choice, and no one else could be Quaid. Kurt Russell, Stallone, Swayze... these guys are great but not right for this part. And Sharon Stone was looking her best for this movie, and since her role seemed to be the sexpot wife who does little more than exercise and seduce her husband, that is a big endorsement.

Clearly the best character was Benny the Cab Driver, played by Mel Johnson, Jr in his only notable role. He stole the scenes he was in with great comic timing and an interesting back-story. I was quite interested by how he went from being what could have been a minor background role to a primary figure in the overall plot. Exquisite.

I guess I simply must recommend you see this movie. If you have not seen Blade Runner, watch that first. If you have not seen Minority Report, watch this first. But either way, be sure that you put this movie somewhere high on your to-do list.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer Dan O'Bannon had a falling out with director Paul Verhoeven when Verhoeven replaced the satirical humor with extreme violence. In the original screenplay, dark humor was much more prevalent, but when Arnold Schwarzenegger came aboard, Verhoeven recognized the necessity to tailor the script to Schwarzenegger's talents.


Quotes

Lori: Doug? Honey, are you all right?
Lori: You were dreaming. Doug? Was it about Mars?
Lori: Is that better?
Douglas Quaid: Hmm.
Lori: My poor baby. This is getting to be an obsession.


Goofs

During the escalator shootout, Quaid uses a bystander's body as a bullet shield and the body is shot to pieces; Quaid then throws the very bloody body onto Richter and his henchmen to slow them down. Moments later, as Richter and his henchmen chase Quaid into the train station, it is obvious that they haven't a drop of blood on them, despite the fact that the bloody corpse landed right on top of them.


Crazy Credits

Play the Total Recall (1990) video game by Acclaim.


Alternate Versions

Film was initially given an X-rating by the MPAA. The following are the scenes that were trimmed to receive a R-rating:

  • Benny's death is optically cropped to remove the exiting drill erupting from his stomach.
  • The innocent bystander used as a shield was bloodier before trimming.
  • The stabbing of Helm in the bar had the bowie knife slicing up his stomach. Stills of this were actually featured in Fangoria magazine at the time of the film's release.
  • Several shots of the scientists being killed by Quaid after he breaks free from the implant-machine were shortened.
  • The scene of Richter's arms being severed was shortened.


Soundtracks

Rubble City
Written and Performed by
Bruno Louchouarn
Produced by Joe La Mont
Published by Lygon St. Music and Barney Sue Music

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller

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