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Reviews & Ratings for
Total Recall More at IMDbPro »

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A wonderful adrenaline rush

Author: CarlosERM from Venezuela
11 March 2015

My rating: 8.5/10

My opinion on the film:

An insanely clever film that looks "stupid" on the surface that might as well be a perfect example of a movie that never takes itself seriously not even a little when doing so for a second would have made it a complete misfire and a total mess, Total Recall, directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a spectacularly entertaining and amazingly funny (without being a comedy) science fiction action film that offers dazzling and old- school fun.

This is a movie in which there's a clear hero from the start but one that isn't even sure of who he is. He's not reliable, he may be lying, he could be a victim or perhaps none of those, but staying right behind him is something we as an audience simply just do. It starts off as a mystery tale, with some doubts concerning our hero's identity or simply which is which, but something certain is that we're eager to find out. The answers come one by one, with lots of action and great set pieces in-between, and once the pieces are put together, we're left with a really solid storyline that's much more than meets the eye. Without trying too hard, it's a story that offers some sociopolitical commentary dealing with injustice, discrimination, minorities and inequality.

At first glance it may seem like the plot is messy, that the dialogue is bad and that the acting is worse, but this film within its rules, within its logic and within its characters works fantastically well that way. It can be hilarious with its dumb one- liners and exaggerated violence, but while many of these things are flaws in many bad movies, Total Recall is great thanks to them. What exactly is the sort of movie magic that made that happen escapes my knowledge but I'm sure that whatever it is, Verhoeven is largely responsible for that. The pace was downright brilliant, the mise-en- scène was energetic, visually it was a real pleasure, and the ending was rightfully satisfying.

Schwarzenegger was as bad and as good as ever, and as always his awesome screen presence and his imposing figure as a man of action made everything cooler than it already is. When a tough action guy like him finds the right script and the right director, the result is usually nothing but a wonderful adrenaline rush (just like this film is) that is simply impossible not to have a terrific time with.

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Total Recall has great special effects.

Author: BrianWC2230
6 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real, or does he? 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 roller-coaster ride until the massive end of the movie. Roger Ebert wrote "(What's even more unlikely is that after the alien reactors are started and quickly provide Mars with an atmosphere, the endangered characters are spared from explosion.) Such quibbles - and pages could be filled with them - are largely irrelevant to "Total Recall," which is a marriage between swashbuckling space opera and the ideas of the original Phillip Dick story. The movie was directed by Paul Verhoeven, whose credits range from "The Fourth Man" to "RoboCop," and he is skilled at creating sympathy for characters even within the overwhelming hardware of a story like this. That's where Schwarzenegger is such a help. He could have stalked and glowered through this movie and become a figure of fun, but instead, by allowing himself to seem confused and vulnerable, he provides a sympathetic center for all of the high-tech spectacle." There aren't many directors who can blend smarts and action so well. Paul Verhoeven is one of the few who has this ability. He proved it in 'Robocop' and does so again here. Sure, films of this ilk today look even prettier and are louder, but they often lack a good core. This film has great special effects and action, but there's also a good story and performances. Plug yourself into this one and enjoy the ride.

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Just a lot of fun

Author: SnoopyStyle
18 September 2014

Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has recurring nightmares about Mars. His wife Lori (Sharon Stone) is jealous of the brunette in his dreams. There is a rebellion for independence on Mars led by Kuato while the administrator Vilos Cohaagen (Ronny Cox) puts it down and keeps the mines operating. Quaid goes to Rekall to have memories of a Mars secret agent vacation implanted. It activates his old memory of being secret agent Hauser erased by the Agency. He is hunted by his evil wife and Richter (Michael Ironside). He battles to return to Mars where he finds his dreamgirl Melina (Rachel Ticotin). Or maybe it is just the Rekall going wrong.

This is a fun 80s sci-fi action. The story is great. There is a certain cheese factor in the style which is very endearing. Arnold and everybody are great in this. It has great action. It is a fun popcorn movie with a brain behind it.

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Give These People Air!

Author: George Roots (GeorgeRoots) from United Kingdom
3 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At this point in time, Paul Verhoeven was the guy responsible for special effect and gun bonanza's such as "Robocop" (1987), & later "Starship Troopers" (1997). He does extremely well putting together what is an equal balance of absurd, yet interesting storyline. Taking accomplished actors and making them overreact, or sticking smut in their face (The chick with the third breast is pretty memorable).

Definitely one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's best. He plays Douglas Quaid, a man in the year of 2084 who has dreams of going to Mars. Essentially he goes to buy the tickets at "Rekall", where they offer fictional memory implants and during the transaction is offered a fantasy package of being a secret agent. However, whilst undergoing the procedure it seems Arnold's character has a past (Or does he?), that eventually leaves him on the run from a bunch of agents (Most notably the always awesome Michael Ironside).

Loosely based on the Philip K. Dick story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale", and stuck in development hell for a long time. I would thoroughly recommend seeing this movie, and not for the fact it was one of the most expensive films at the time of it's release. It's the kind of role that suits Schwarzenegger and the creature effects, set designs and make up still look brilliant. Horrible one liners? Pardon my language, but £%$^ me there's to many gold ones to count.

Final Verdict: What a way to kick off the 1990's. Check it out as it is brilliant, mindless fun and highly re-watchable. 8/10.

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Very Graphic . Great Science Fiction

Author: mike48128 from United States
3 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Director Paul Verhoeven's bloody and graphic sci-fi classic. Bullet-riddled bodies, knife slashes, decapitations and arms cut off. Not for the faint-of-heart! The cable-edited version is almost better because some of the gore and cuss-words are reduced. (Too bad it has commercials!) A great story concept from Philip K. Dick about the future of mankind and bargain vacations. Don't actually travel there, just have the whole experience trans-implanted into your mind. This all goes wrong when lowly construction worker Doug Quaid visits "Rekall" and has a psychotic meltdown. Is he Quaid or Hauser? Blue collar worker or company super spy? On Mars or just imagining the whole thing? Several clues point to both possible answers: His "athletically built brunette" looks exactly like the computer model. Sharon Stone bitches that she "had to travel all the way to f*cking Mars, just for this". Mars is a horrible place with no atmosphere. There is a hefty "tax" on oxygen. Luxury Hilton Hotels and a grimy "poor side of town" with dives, beggars and prostitutes. (Love that 3-breasted woman!) A great ending, as good old Arnold sets things right, killing off the stinking pig of an industrialist dictator (played to the hilt by Ronny Cox) in a man-to-man fight. (Guess who wins?) This movie has everything: Sharon Stone as the kick-ass slutty fake wife, mis-formed mutant humans, great special effects, and a great ending, as "Quaid" restores air to the Martian atmosphere and embraces the heroine in a lusty kiss. One of the last major movies that used matte paintings, large-sized miniatures and 10 sets, as CGI was still in it's infancy. If you can handle all the blood and gore, it's a great ride!

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Wonderful Action Movie

Author: KingBrian1 from Ireland
19 April 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Classic Action Adventure Old school movie with doses of disgust throw in to make it realistic. Arnold plays one of his greatest parts in this movie. The attention to detail in showing Mars and Earth of the future is imaginative, quirky and impressive.

Ignoring all the science which by all intense and purposes is fantasy this movie is plain and simply a fight against evil doers. Secret agent type death squad walking the streets of Earth hunting down an enemy of the Earth. Even Marc Alaimo made a cameo and he became the Tyrant Gul Dukat in Star Trek Deep Space Nine years later. Yes this is a world eerily similar to the Robocop world with the same Ronny Cox as the Dastardly Ruler.

Many other films do what this movie does which is have a bunch of Rebels fight against the state and then have an action man come to the rescue but what makes this movie works is a combination great scenes, both exotic and mundane mixed together with futuristic concepts like going to Mars,cosmopolitan atmosphere and Arnold beating up really nasty folks.

In some ways the scenes on Mars are crude depictions of warzones in places like Syria today. It is very hard to portray this movie as Science Fiction as it would be stretching science a good bit. It is a typical Action movie of its age.

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Future perfect

Author: Regperrin69 from United Kingdom
9 April 2014

IMDb is full of people dishing out ratings with no care or attention. But if ever a film tempted me to give it full marks, it's total recall.

As with all Paul Verhoven's sci-fi films, total recall still looks futuristic, and always will.

The music is pitch perfect, the casting immaculate, the settings, the dialogue. And Arnie fits into this role more sweetly than any other, even that other one he does, where he's a robot.

A great story full of ultra violence, twists, multi mammaric women, mutants and more. My Nan would often say 'they'd tax the air you breathe if they could' and Cohaagen made that dream true. He must be the envy of every politician.

Quotable sound bites, indelible images, and the most fictionally realised vision of Mars imaginable.

Nothing in the film is beyond the realm of possibility, an amazing achievement for a sci fi film set largely on another planet.

I just cannot believe how much I love this film.

Only two negatives, why did it lead Paul to make showgirls? And maybe if it hadn't been so good, it wouldn't have given some twonk the idea to cash in on its reputation with a remake, which I haven't seen as I'm so offended that anyone thought a remake necessary

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Total fun

Author: sgtking from United States
15 July 2013

Sometimes we just need to get away from it all. Problems with the wife? Have a job that stresses you out? The best medicine for that is supposed to be a vacation. But what if you could go on a perfect vacation? One where you do exactly what you wanted, go where you wanted and even be who wanted. Sounds appealing, but for the lead in this film it turns out to be a nightmare. Bad news for Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger), great movie fun for us.

Pros: Solid performances across the board. Steady direction. Awesome score. Spectacular effects. Grand production design. Some hilarious bits. Plenty of action. Amazing stunt work. Fast paced from start to finish. Some nice twists and turns.

Cons: Some things make the film look dated. The hairstyles on some of the women for one.

Final thoughts: There aren't many directors who can blend smarts and action so well. Paul Verhoeven is one of the few who has this ability. He proved it in 'Robocop' and does so again here. Sure, films of this ilk today look even prettier and are louder, but they often lack a good core. This film has fabulous effects and action up the wazoo, but there's also a good story and performances. Plug yourself into this one and enjoy the ride.

My rating: 5/5

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Love the cheesy goodness

Author: tay-sedai from Perth, Australia
21 May 2013

This movie came out in 1990, when I was 10. Or I might have been 9, depending on what time of year it was. I don't now if i saw it at the movies or if we waited till it was on video (yeah, VIDEO back then), but either way I loved this movie from the first moment I saw it.

I am actually quite a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger as an actor, even if some people think he's not all that talented. I think it's because a lot of his best-known movies are straight out of my childhood and teen years, so he gave me a lot of entertainment back in the day! Total Recall is definitely one of my favourites. It never fails to make me laugh when I re-watch it, and I love the concept as well. The film focuses on some interesting notions, i.e. human memory and what might happen in a world where you can buy false memories. The story makes you wonder what was real and what wasn't. So, all in all I find it a thought-provoking movie as well as being cheesy and silly.

I don't see it as the most genius film of all time, so I'm only giving it an 8 - particularly as I don't re-watch it THAT often, whereas there are other movies I will re-watch at least every 6 months. But it's in my DVD collection and it's there to stay!

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"If I am not me, then who the hell am I?"

Author: Michael Gomez from Australia
28 February 2011

In a time when interplanetary travel is common, one man yearns for better things. Douglas Quaid (Arnold Scwarzenneger), discontent with his life, dreams of vacationing to Mars. When an opportunity for a virtual vacation presents itself, Quaid visits Rekall Inc. for a memory implant. But during the procedure Quaid is plagued by memories of another life and heads to mars to try to unravel a forgotten past.

When David Cronenberg passed on the project, director Paul Verhoeven, of 'Robocop' fame came to the rescue. And although I will always wonder what the talented Mr. Cronenberg would have pieced together, I think Verhoeven deserves credit for taking on the challenge. The film's look is a trademark of Verhoevens and doesn't shy away from being loud in appearance.

The film was adapted from Philip K. Dick's 'We Can Remember It For You Wholesale' and poses a question to the audience about whether the events after the memory implant are real or not. Undertones of corruption pull the movie along, but Verhoeven's execution of these issues is done with little care.

Direction: 7/10 (Verhoeven's anti-subtle imagery and erotica influences drive this film) Cinematography: 8/10 (Jost Vocano's improves Verhoeven's excessive influences) Editing: 9/10 (Puente & Urioste make the right choices here, especially in the Johhny cab scenes) Acting: 6/10 (It's Arnie & Stone. What did you expect? Michael Ironside does most of the work here) Dialogue: 5/10 (Too many hands spoiled this broth. Not awful, just disappointing it didn't turn out) Sound: 10/10 (I was impressed for a film made in 1990. This almost makes up for the dialogue) Effects: 10/10 (It didn't get a 'Special Achievement Award' for nothing. An Oscar well deserved) Art Direction: 8/10 (Verhoeven favourite James E. Tocci is called again to help the director) Costumes: 7/10 (Erica Edell Phillips gives the characters another subtle dimension) Music and/or Score: 7/10 (The music department provided a tasteful Sci-Fi feel to the film)

Total Score: 77/100

For a film with plenty of action, explosive sounds and visual effects it still delivers an entertaining experience. But don't be fooled – this film is not for anyone. Best suited for Sci-Fi aficionados and 80s action film buffs. Memorable moments included.

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