DVD Review: Total Recall (1990)
Total Recall is currently available on Special Edition Triple Play, featuring a brand new and director approved High Def restoration taken from the original negative.
The year is 1990 and Paul Verhoeven is beginning to make a name for himself. Coming off the back of the uber-violent but successful Robocop, Verhoeven’s trademark for over violent gunplay was deemed perfect for his next project Total Recall. For those who don’t know, Total Recall is the movie adaptation of Philip K Dick’s short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, starring Arnie, Sharon Stone and Michael Ironside.
Set in 2084 AD, Arnie plays Doug Quaid, an average Joe construction worker who is haunted by recurring dreams about the Red Planet and a mysterious woman there. His wife Lori (Sharon Stone), begs him to forget those dreams and concentrate on his life on Earth. His urges, however are too strong and despite warnings from his co-workers, he visits ‘Rekall’ a company that can make one’s fantasies come true, via implanting false memories.
Things take a twist when Quaid is sedated as he reacts violently claiming his cover has been blown. From here Quaid realises he may not be who he thinks he is and may be someone else called Hauser; a spy on a undercover mission. Quaid/Hauser faces a battle to survive, complete with copious amounts of bloodshed; as everyone is desperate for the information buried deep in his brain.
At the time Total Recall was one of the most expensive movies ever produced – a reported $50 million; and it made nearly $262 million dollars at the Box Office. It’s easy to see why. Arnie was a huge box office draw and action movies such as The Terminator, Predator and The Running Man established him as a global superstar. So his appeal allowed Arnie to be… Arnie. Michael Ironside is excellent as the psychotic grunt of a bad guy and Sharon Stone is fantastic as Lori; in one of her best ever roles.
Total Recall was seen as a roller-coaster, action–packed, thrill-a-minute movie; looking back, the words ‘and a guilty pleasure’ can be added – but it’s a good one at that. At the time the Special Effects, now looking dated, were state-of-the-art but the one factor that stands out are the many great but entertainingly cheesy lines throughout.
Take your pick from the selection below:-
Douglas Quaid: You expect me to believe you?
Vilos Cohaagen: Who gives a sh** what you believe! In 30 seconds you’ll be dead, and I’ll blow this place up, and be home in time for cornflakes.
Douglas Quaid: If I am not me, who the hell am I?
Lori: Doug, honey… you wouldn’t hurt me, would you, sweetheart? Sweetheart, be reasonable. After all, we’re married!
[Lori goes for her gun, Quaid shoots her in the head, killing her]
Douglas Quaid: Consider that a divorce!
Douglas Quaid: Well, Cohaagen, I have to hand it to you. It’s the best mindf**k yet.
Vilos Cohaagen: Oh, don’t take my word for it. Someone you trust wants to talk to you.
Douglas Quaid: Who is it this time, my mother?
Melina: Hello, Hauser. Still bulging, I see.
[grabs his crotch]
Melina: What you been feeding this thing?
Douglas Quaid: Blondes.
Melina: I think it’s still hungry.
Douglas Quaid: Come on, Cohaagen! You got what you want. Give these people air!
Benny sits at the bar and feels up Mary, (the prostitute with three breasts)
Benny: Oh, baby, you make me wish I had three hands.
Mary: You’re doing okay with two.
Total Recall is a great example of Verhoeven’s penchant for excessive film violence and how he blends this into a guilty but entertaining ride. It also typifies Arnie’s appeal – accused of not being able to act his way out of a paper bag, he shows that this does not matter, as yet again, his movies are hugely entertaining.
With Len Wiseman’s remake coming soon starring Colin Farrell as Quaid and Kate Beckinsale as Lori; Total Recall (2012) has one hell of an act to follow.
FMV Rating ****
Special Features include:
NEW Interview with Director Paul Verhoeven: TOTAL RECALL 20 years after
Audio Commentary with Paul Verhoeven and ArnoldSchwarzenegger
Total Recall: The Special Effects
Imagining Total Recall Featurette