Before inception, before sucker punch, there was Total Recall. Troubled by rewrites, choosing who to direct & who to cast for the lead role, until Arnold bought the script, which if he didn’t, may have seen a more witty movie vs a more action packed movie.
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Plot: “Douglas Quaid is haunted by a recurring dream about a journey to Mars. He hopes to find out more about this dream and buys a holiday at Rekall Inc. where they sell implanted memories. But something goes wrong with the memory implantation and he remembers being a secret agent fighting against the evil Mars administrator Cohaagen. Now the story really begins and it’s a rollercoaster ride until the massive end of the movie” – imdb.com
Yes, I’m reviewing this because the new version is out already and plan on reviewing that soon. As I said before, this movie would have been more witty and possibly dialogue full, but thx to Arnold being attached to it, it may have been better–but I guess we’ll never know. I will say this movie is awesome for its time and, for what it is, a sci-fi action thriller, from the very start (I’m not entirely clear as to why THAT scene started the movie), but kudos to the effects team. Its funny, as a kid I never realized just how disturbing a movie this is. When his face mask breaks and all the oxygen is ripped from his body… Man.. They did a great job to show what that may/may not look like. It’s a very Hollywood moment if you know what I mean, but let’s discuss the story.
The movie is open ended, just like inception is and even the mixed feeling sucker punch. Why? Because… I’ll get to that in a moment… As I said, it starts off on Mars with some chick he can’t stop dreaming about. Then it turns into a nightmare, and he wakes beside his wife, who is believable to be the wife of this dude. As the story progresses, you notice that “Quaid” is longing for something more than some jackhammer operator so he starts to look into “Rekall” which is a memory implant company. And when he gets there.. It really does become this non stop roller coaster ride, one which we don’t know is real or not, right up to the “Fade to White” ending, in terms of what is reality. Everything for sure is up to the point he gets to “Rekall”. After that we, the audience are on our own. When he mets some “Dr” who informs him of this crazy series of events, he is actually explaining the entire third act, which makes this entire movie mind twisting, and the fact that it goes to white & not black, has so many different meanings.
This is an Arnold movie. Let’s face it, we don’t watch his movies in hopes of him bing a great actor, but being a believable powerhouse to root for in the end. His best acted scenes are at the start of the film, after the dream, in my eyes, even some of the parts where he’s explaining he wishes to be/do more. It’s believable because of the job he has, the wife he has, and all that stuff. Sharon Stone hasn’t really been a good actor to me past “Basic Instinct” (Which has one of the most daring scenes in cinema history.. Maybe), which is some time after this movie. The rest of the cast is really just a bunch of moments. The brunette’s first “real” moments on film are her best in my opinion. The most annoying is the black guy, but when the story gets to where it needs to be by the end, it kinda makes sense.
When it comes to the effects, this movie didn’t hold back. It is said to be the first to use CGI and the last to use miniature sets with integrated live action, both of which are beautifully done, especially for a movie that came out in the 90’s. Honestly, if not for the brain messing plot, the effects alone are worth watching this movie. The action scenes, which there are plenty, aren’t perfect, and probably not the best we’ve seen from Arnold to that point in his career, BUT it does look great when you fit the story to it.
The thing about this movie is, when I started watching it I remember seeing it as a kid & hating it. Now as an adult with a sense for film & with more understanding, I appreciated this film. It was one giant mind tease with a bunch of metaphors & foreshadowing. When Benny is driving the taxi, too many times he comes across the truck drill which, a drill is used to ultimately kill him. It’s worth watching before the new movie for sure.
- Overall rating of the movie: 3 out of 5,
- Cinematography: 3 out of 5,
- Editing: 3 out of 5,
- Audio: 3 out of 5,
- Acting: 2.5 out of 5,
THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!
– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW