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Total Recall has great special effects.

Author: The-Eternity-of-Time
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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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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Post-modern Hegemony

Author: bradleyadita from Chicago, IL
23 November 2007

Total Recall recounts a dystopian future in which a common man has the choice to lead his own destiny or become a pawn for an interplanetary mega-corporation. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Hauser, a man who is working for an extra-terrestrial mining company which maintains a monopoly on air needed by the population living and working on their main mining base on Mars. The company has employed Hauser in a hunt to find Kuato, the leader of a rebellion against the company. In his search for the rebel leader, Hauser switches sides and begins to help the rebellion. When this happens, the company's lead Mars administrator, Vilos Cohaagen, captures Hauser and uses "Rekall" brand technology to erase and re-programs his memory. In doing so, Cohaagen seeks to eliminate Hauser from further aiding the rebels, and possibly gain an advantage - should Hauser become aware of his former memories and trace his way back to Kuato.

The film begins in a dream turned nightmare in which Schwarzenegger and his former female companion on Mars, Melina (Rachel Ticotin), have an accident while exploring Martian terrain. Awaking from this nightmare, Schwarzenegger is now Douglas Quaid, (an identity created by Cohaagen's Rekall technicians), now living on Earth with a house, a construction job, and Lori: his hot blonde wife (Sharon Stone). Things seem hunky-dory for Quaid until he begins piecing together clues leading to his former life on Mars as Hauser.

Paul Verhoeven's direction of a script influenced by Philip K. Dick's sci-fi short story is both visually exciting and challenging. In 1990, the producers found this match to be demanding enough to break previous film budget production records. The budget was well spent on creating the film's appearance of new architectural brutalism, future technologies, and on costuming and special effects. The portrayal of the mutant Martian population added a grotesque flourish to the already action-packed science-fantasy.

Total Recall is less a classic film for the ages than it is indicative of cutting-edge modernism of the late 80s and early 90s. The main philosophical components deal with meta-cognition (thinking about thought), reality, dream states, control, and flexibility vs. conservatism. It also speaks to concerns about new technology and the old fear of its use by the wrong people. The final sequence boils down to a fight between the corporation and rebels as a conflict over whether the Martian population will be able to "breathe free" or only with the consent of and payment to the company.

But the conflict seems to conceal another issue, that being the unfettered expansion humans beyond Earth. This encapsulates post-modern hegemony; both the rebel's trust in alien technology to safely deliver a fresh breath of air (who can really complain if a few windows are broken in the process) and the corporation's conservative stance to restrict the atmosphere are risks to the human condition and neither can be acted upon with the total participation of all those effected. In summation, the creation of a Martian atmosphere is a triumph over the corporation for the moment, but in the long run how will this prevent Mars from being overrun by the very same corporations which were defeated in the film's finale. The answer to this may lay in the film which was developed as a sequel to Total Recall, Minority Report (2002), which saw psychic-clairvoyant Martian mutants employed to help detect and fight crime before it even took place, a film which did not continue the trajectory of Hauser and Melina. Even though Hauser was able to set the Martian atmosphere free, it seems the possibilities for continuing his adventure had been exhausted.

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Was It All Just a Dream?

Author: ( from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
27 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Total Recall" is an expensive futuristic Sci-fi film in which Arnold Schwarzeneggar saves Mars.

The story opens Douglas Quaid (Arnold) dreaming of walking hand in hand with a mysterious brunette (Rachel Ticotin) on Mars and then waking beside his wife Lori (Sharon Stone). Quaid has a desire to move to Mars but Lori is against it. Stuch in a menial construction job (you know that that's not going to last), Quaid is lured by an advertisement of a virtual holiday on Mars from a company known as Recall.

Quaid chooses to experience his "vacation" as a super spy with all of the inherent dangers. Then all hell breaks loose. The virtual machine malfunctions and Quaid suddenly finds himself pursued by unknown assailants. It seems that Quaid may have had his memory erased and that Lori isn't really his wife but an enemy agent.

Anyway, he manages to get to Mars where he discovers that his main adversaries are Cohaagen (Ronny Cox), who controls the settlement, its air and its wealth and his chief henchman Richter (Michael Ironside). He also discovers "the girl of his dreams", Melina (Ticotin) who seems to remember him as someone called Hauser. It seems that "Hauser" still holds some valuable information in his scrambled brain.

After dispatching half the population, Arnold brings the villains to justice and all live happily ever after....or do they?

Director Paul Verhoeven gives us plenty of action, great looking set pieces and plenty of extras for Arnold and company to mow down. The fight between Stone and Ticotin is a highlight as well as, the part where Stone kicks the crap out of Arnold. Verhoevan also leaves it to the viewer to decide whether the story was real or did Arnold actually have his virtual vacation.

Exciting science fiction.

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