Total Recall
Dir: Paul Verhoeven
Star: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Micheal Ironside, Racheal Ticotin, Sharon Stone
Cert / Year: 18 - R / 1990
Format: DVD R2

For the memory of a lifetime, Rekall, Rekall, Rekall.

Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a happily married construction worker (to Sharon Stone lucky man), who has recurring dreams of Mars. Acting on these dreams he decides to buy some memories of a vacation on Mars from the Total Rekall company. During the mind implant things go wrong, as previously suppressed memories return. Suddenly Quaid is on the run from homicidal agent, Richter (Micheal Ironside), who is working for the evil governor of Mars Vilos Cohaagen (Ronny Cox). Quaid prompted by a message from his suppressed identity must travel to Mars to find out just who he is. Does the answer lie with the Mars freedom fighter Kuato, and the beautiful Melina (Racheal Ticotin), or with Cohaagen, or is it all a delusion experienced due to a foul up at Rekall.

What a great story, this is action sci-fi with a plot (that doesn't happen these days). The original script was adapted from a Philip K Dick short story "We can remember it for you wholesale" by the writers of Alien Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett. What makes the script great is the refusal to decide whether it is reality or all a delusion. It constantly switches perspectives just when you think you have made your mind up. This could have led to a confusing mess, but not here. It leaves you guessing right until the very end.

This doesn't mean that it's slow paced, far from it, this is a Arnold Schwarzenegger movie of the old school. We have car chases and gun battles galore, all delivered with mandatory one-liners. This is expertly helmed by goremeister Paul Verhoeven, which means the amount of on screen blood is high. The direction is excellent from the close ups during hand to hand fights with Sharon Stone, to the pitched gun battles (very much a prototype the bigger gun battles in Starship Troopers).

Arnie is at his best when hitting things or blowing things up, this is ideal stuff for him. He is not the worlds best actor but he really is unbeatable when delivering that one-liner before blowing someone away (Consider this a divorce), and he is as always physically impressive. Sharon Stone is great as the good wife turned bad, in a more action oriented role than she unusually gets. Baddies do not come any worse than Michael Ironside, and here he is scary and coolly psychotic. Joining the opposition is evil corporate boss Ronny Cox who seems to be reusing his Dick Jones character from Robocop. Overall it is a strong cast, with the exception of Mel Johnson Jr. (Benny) who is annoying in a Jar Jar Binks way.

Time to consider the effects, and here we have a mixed bag. The model work and design (by Ron Cobb who was the conceptual artist on Alien) are of the highest quality. The Marscapes are well used and beautifully realised. The gadgets and vehicles are also superb, look out for the security scanner, and the Johny cab. It is by Rob Bottin's make up effects which have dated badly. The make up on the mutants is good, but when the animatronic heads are used things just don't work. This is particularly illustrated by the "choking in a vacuum" effects used later in the film, they are really unconvincing. A let down in what are otherwise excellent effects.

Total Recall is a high adrenaline action packed movie, with a unusual plot twist, and an original story. It's helped by some top notch direction and casting, some good special effects, and an outstanding musical score from supremeo Jerry Goldsmith. Right from the opening credits and the banging title track, the score keeps up with the action adding strength to it. As I have mentioned this a Arnold Schwarzenegger movie of the old school, and bearing in mind where the script and direction came from you should know what to expect. Top stuff.


They stole his mind, now he wants it back.


Douglas Quaid: I'll be back!

Lori: Doug. You wouldn't shoot me, would you sweetheart? Sweetheart, after all, we're married!
(Lori goes for her gun. Quaid shoots her)
Douglas Quaid: Consider that a divorce.

Douglas Quaid: If I am not me, then who the hell am I?

Rating: 4 out of 5

Picture 1.85:1 Anamorphic Picture is excellent.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Great even if it is a little primitive.
Features short making of featurette (only 7 mins)
Teaser Trailer
Verdict Total lack of extras. If you have a multiregion player buy the far superior Region 1 collectors edition.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Theme Back Top Home