Director: Paul Verhoeven
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside
They stole his mind, now he wants it back
It’s 2084 and Douglas Quaid is wanting more out of his life than just working hard as a construction worker. There is something about the planet Mars that attracts him to want to go there, but his wife and co-workers does not share his enthusiasm for the red planet due to the unsafe state it is in.
He comes across a commercial for a company that implants holiday memories directly into the brain of their customers and he decides it would be a good idea to use the company for an action filled trip to Mars. Something goes wrong while they are trying to give Douglas a good trip though and he finds himself having to question what is fantasy and what is reality, and who he even really is.
Every good horror franchise ends up in space someday, so I guess it only makes sense that the biggest action hero of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger, would also end up having to visit the outer space. But unlike horror franchises, space isn’t necessarily a bad thing for an action film. Total Recall was actually one of the most expensive films that Hollywood had created at the time, with a budget at around 50-60 million dollars, and they did make good use of it.
The story is based on a short story by the popular author Philip K. Dick. It was adapted to the big screen by Ronald Shussett, Gary Goldman and another guy who should be known to the sci-fi and horror fans of the world, Dan O’Bannon. It’s a good story that keeps the viewer busy at all time and doesn’t overly focus on the idea of the story happening in a dream or reality.
Of course, most of the film is really about Arnold kicking scumbag ass, which he does quite well. He has a few funny one liners, delivered in his unique and choppy eastern european accent. Just the way we like it. The bad guys are made up of Ronny Cox as Vilos Cohaagen, the always fantastic Michael Ironside as Richter and a pre-Basic Instinct Sharon Stone as Lori.
Director Paul Verhoeven got the assignment after impressing Arnold (yeah, he had that much control over the project) with his previous film RoboCop. He paces the film along greatly with full understanding of what the audience wants out of it and delivers a good atmosphere once we reach Mars. The music is done by the legendary Jerry Goldsmith and it sounds like most big budget Hollywood films from the early 90’s, not the type of soundtrack I’m very much into. And to make the crew even more impressive, Rob Bottin and his team handled the special effects, which was all very impressive and makes the film just so much more entertaining than what it would have been if it was filled with poor computer effects of the time.
Total Recall is fun, a lot of fun. It had everything Hollywood had behind it, a competent and experienced crew, a supporting cast made perfectly for a film like that and of course… last but still the most important – Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime.