Construction worker Douglas Quaid's obsession with the planet Mars leads him to visit Recall, a company who manufacture memories. Something goes wrong during his memory implant turning Doug's life upside down and even to question what is reality and what isn't.
Intrinsically Verhoeven, _Total Recall_ is a film from my youth that I probably shouldn't have been watching quite as early as I did, but that I still love to this day. All the practical effects, exquisite violence & nudity and provocative sci-fi themes you've come to expect from this sort of thing, but twists and turns that start just five minutes in and keep running all the way through to the end. _Total Recall_ is a must-see. _Final rating:★★★★ - Very strong appeal. A personal favourite._
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; tho 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
Aside from maybe "Predator" (1987) this is probably my favourite outing from Arnold Schwarzenegger. He ("Quaid") goes off to have an harmless implant of memories from an holiday on Mars (that he hasn't had) only to find that his life starts to unwind very quickly afterwards. Even his girlfriend "Lori" (Sharon Stone) becomes a would-be assassin and he is soon under attack from just about every other quarter too. Why? Well, that's what we now explore as he decides that he - helped by a video iteration of himself - must travel back to the red planet and get to the bottom of things. My flaw - well Ronny Cox is just dreadful as "Cohaagen" which does prove important towards the end of the film, but for the main part it is an action packed and well directed vehicle for a very much on-form star. It's one of the first films I recall that started messing about with timelines. We are not quite sure what happened when or if, indeed, at all - and Paul Verhoeven keeps that tempo running well right from the start of the film. Arnie has a chance to deliver some quite fun one-liners and the visual effects enhance, sparingly, the production rather than impose themselves on it. It has dated a little, some of the sets do look a bit static, but thirty-odd years on, it's still standing up well and is well worth seeing.