A factory worker, Douglas Quaid, begins to suspect that he is a spy after visiting Rekall - a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led - goes wrong and he finds himself on the run.
A retired elite Black Ops Commando launches a one man war against a group of South American criminals who have kidnapped his daughter to blackmail him into starting a revolution and getting an exiled dictator back into power.
Mark L. Lester
Rae Dawn Chong,
A human-looking indestructible cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.
A cybernetic warrior from a post-apocalyptic future travels back in time to protect a 19-year old drifter and his future wife from an most advanced robotic assassin and to ensure they both survive a nuclear attack.
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. Written by
Harald Mayr <firstname.lastname@example.org>
David Cronenberg was set to direct and even wrote a few drafts of the script before Paul Verhoeven took over. Cronenberg stated that he wanted to cast William Hurt as the lead, and was displeased by the producers' decision to reimagine the lead for an action star such as Schwarzenegger. See more »
Towards the end when Quaid is using his holographic watch to fool the guards who have surrounded him on the catwalk, they begin shooting through his "holographic" image but no-one gets hit on the other side, even though they are only a few feet away. See more »
[Doug awakens from a nightmare]
Doug? Honey, are you all right?
You were dreaming. Doug? Was it about Mars?
Is that better?
My poor baby. This is getting to be an obsession.
See more »
A bit dated 20 years later, but an exciting action thriller with a strong core
"Total Recall" might not be timeless as far as filmmaking goes, but it's certainly a hard movie to forget. "RoboCop" director Paul Verhoeven's take on the Phillip K. Dick story "We Can Remember it For You Wholesale" serves as the perfect snapshot of what late '80s America thought the future would look like -- a "Mad Max" society on Mars and lots of communicating video screens. Part of this memorability comes from cheap methods such as gross-out visual effects and three-breasted prostitutes, but credit also belongs to a story full of roller coaster twists.
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Douglas Quaid, a man with a seemingly loving wife (Sharon Stone), who has vivid dreams about Mars, a planet that has been colonized by America and is at the center of a military controversy. Quaid becomes intrigued by a service that offers the implantation of vacation memories so that one can recall having been somewhere and experienced something without having to take the time to go through it. But instead of getting a nice vacation, the process goes wrong for Quaid and suddenly his friend at work and his wife are not who he thought they were -- and neither is he.
Turns out Quaid was a skilled operative who had his memory tampered with previously and his "former self" sent him a message to go back to Mars because he has memories that hold the key to the undoing of the evil General Cohaagen who is oppressing those living on Mars.
Mars is a circus sideshow in Las Vegas in this film. There's prostitution and horrendously scarred individuals. Oh, and dwarfs. Needless to say, the vision Verhoeven has for the future is not a very politically correct one and a bit excessive on vice and strangeness only for the sake of being just so. The meat of "Total Recall" lies not in the sci-fi future world the story takes place in, but more in the mystery of who Quaid (or Hauser) actually is.
Schwarzenegger is still best suited for playing a machine or straight-up action hero not to be taken seriously, so "Total Recall" might not be the best fit, but he's probably better than most would give him credit for. He doesn't really hurt the film in any way.
It seems like "Total Recall" was Verhoeven's attempt to make a visual effects spectacle because he simply had the money thanks to Arnold's star power. Although the story intrigues beyond a doubt, this is not the sci-fi thinker that "Blade Runner' was. Why else would there be so many special effects shots of people's faces puffing up in the vacuum of space?
"Total Recall" would easily land on my list of decent films that could be remade and done better, particularly in terms of themes and social relevancy. In the late '80s, these effects were all the rage. Now that cinema has grown up and the average filmmaker with a bit of cash could make the effects of the film happen, it could actually survive as more than a thriller. Hard to blame a film 20 years outside of its context for doing something like that, so I think it just shows the potential for Dick's story to endure as a film.
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