Total Recall (1990)

Director: Paul Verhoeven

Writers: Ronald Shusett & Dan O’Bannon and Gary Goldman

(Screen Story by Ronald Shusett & Dan O’Bannon and Jon Povill)

(Based on the short story “I Can Remember It For You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick)

Shit I wish they made movies like this still.  I know they make science fiction still but something about the tone and the violent of this movie just feels like something we don’t see anymore.  Of course I hope the upcoming remake is good but I just can’t imagine it be anywhere near this.  Verhoeven is like a Bro version of Cronenberg.  He doesn’t even try to hide his desire to just show tits and blood, you know, the good stuff.

Schwarzenegger plays Quaid, a married man bored of the grind and dreaming of a vacation on Mars however the planet is in chaos and full of mutant terrorist attacks so his wife, played by Sharon Stone, advices him against it.  But from Rekall Inc. comes the technology to implant a vacation memory in your brain so that you can have all of the sensations of the vacation without having to actually pack and go.  Quaid goes in for the procedure but an accident occurs and dormant memories in his brain are released.  You see it turns out that Quaid is actually Hauser, an undercover secret agent…or is he?!

Part of the fun of the movie is the ambiguity around it.  I don’t me obtuse or confusing ambiguity like 2001: A Space Odyssey, more like a fun one much like Inception.  A lot of the story references the character being unsure whether what is happening in the movie is the memory he paid to have implanted or not.  The title of the movie refers to the technology used to implant the vacation memory but half way through the film it is said to refer to Quaid recalling his life as Hauser and the movie kind of leaves you to decide what is what.

Verhoeven makes to bones about what you want to see.  The movie has pretty much non stop action, and the only time it does stop is to show you a woman with three breasts.  The movie has fun with all of this as well.  The thing about the upcoming remake is that it is being made in a time where genre films are king and must be taken very seriously.  The one liners, the three breasted mutant and Kuato are all things I feel like wouldn’t make the screen if it were made today.  Also Len Wiseman is directing it.  Hack much?  Yuck.

I found that even 21 years later all of the special effects and set design pretty much held up.  There is something nice about seeing a movie that isn’t filled with computer effects and impossible camera angles for the sake of it.  Even in my lifetime it is really interesting to see just how different movies look at feel.

I haven’t seen this movie from start to finish in probably a decade and I loved discovering that it holds up as a great Science Fiction/Action movie.  The pace is brisk, lots of good humor, action, and buckets of blood.  Really great!

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About Jon Watches Movies

Watching a movie a day since January 1, 2011.
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