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Total Recall
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Total Recall More at IMDbPro »

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A somewhat dated, but extremely entertaining sci-fi flick

8/10
Author: Threedots-dead from Sweden
20 May 2006

Arnold is a crap actor. There, I said it. Knowing that, I didn't have very high expectations for this, but WOW, Verheovens directing and the excellent writing more than enough make up for Schwarzeneggers shortcomings. Wonderfully dark humor, plot twists that makes sense and one-liners that are actually funny are some of the things you will find in this gem of a movie.

It is also refreshing to see a film for once that isn't afraid of using profanity or brutal violence in a genre that nowadays is so infested with PG-13 movies that anyone older than ten just wanna puke. Verheoven does his thing, and the result is a movie worthy of being put right up there with the classics by Ridley Scott and James Cameron.

When it comes to the look and "feel" of the movie I admit it overall felt a bit dated, with outfits that scream late eighties and gadgets that were outdated years ago. On the plus-side, however, some of the special-effects were truly amazing, especially those involving make-up and animatronics. Some of them really makes todays CGI-endeavors look like cheap computer-games.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll try to find out what other films Verhoeven has directed...

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Arnold Schwarzenneger's Best

10/10
Author: movieguy81007 from United States
15 May 2006

Total Recall is Arnold Schwarzenegger's best movie. Total Recall got cut to avoid an X rating. This is a very violent movie. The story still is confusing though. Paul Verhoeven did a good job. This movie also features a then unknown Sharon Stone. Ronny Cox was good as the villain. The technology is cool in this movie. The acting is top notch. I can not wait to see the unrated version the way Paul Verhoeven meant it to be seen. I have seen the unrated versions of Basic Instinct, Robocop, and Flesh + Blood. Later I bought the cut versions and I noticed how much they actually cut out. I like comparing the R rated versions to the unrated versions. I just recently saw the cut version of Robocop and noticed how different it was to the unrated version.

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Action Packed & Thought-Provoking

10/10
Author: Nick Wagner (MovieManiacX) from United States
28 April 2006

Total Recall is just a damn good movie. There's something for everyone here. Tons of great action sequences (complete with over-the-top violence), a compelling and interesting storyline that will give your brain a workout, excellent special effects (still to this day), a wonderful score, and great acting.

Schwarzenegger as Quaid and Michael Ironside as the psychotic Richter really shine here, giving excellent performances. You want action? YOU GOT IT! From the intense shootouts to the insane chases, this movie delivers on the action. Aiding the sizzling action are special effects that are as amazing as they were in 1990, from the vast stretches of Mars to all the futuristic weapons, cars, buildings and gadgets. Plus, you have a woman with three boobs. How can that NOT be good? The score by Jerry Goldsmith is powerful and fits the movie perfectly. Sci-Fi master Paul Verhoeven provides us with a kinetic, bloody, and amazing view of the future, just as he did with RoboCop and Starship Troopers. If you like Sci-Fi, don't miss this one.

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Those old classics.....

9/10
Author: pietari from Finland
3 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...that they just can't reproduce anymore!

*WARNING: may contain spoilers of some kind!: Arnie was at his best in late 80-s, early 90-s. I must say that despite this film being "just" science-fiction, it's pretty good acting on his part. Sharon Stone was fantastic seductress and vicious woman, Rachel Ticotin playing the "amazon" and the good girl. Ronnie Cox and Michael Ironside were both full of malevolence. Special effects were at the time of production unseen and very believable, though same can't be said about masking (Arnie's explosive head) and some of the atmospheric changes at the end. All in all; good piece of popcorn and nostalgia!

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Good Sci-fi Action - probably Arnold's best imo

8/10
Author: pc95 from San Diego
11 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I remember absolutely loving this movie the summer it came out when in high school. In fact I snook in to see it at least 4 x in the theater more than any other film in the theater. It is well-paced, graphically violent, with gratuitous nudity and excellent visual effects - top notch during the time and still fun to watch. The story is of course an Arnold vehicle but I enjoyed the Science-Fiction aspect of reality versus dreaming. Of course upon viewing it nowadays it doesn't have quite the flare and panache that made it so huge the summer of '90, but still you can pick it up dirt cheap at WalMart. There are many Arnold movies - but this one seemed the best done imo with the intriguing storyline, fun cast, indicative of the energy on the screen; and it is still fun to sit back and watch every so often. A must for Arnold fans...."See you at the Party Rictor!"

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An Exciting film

7/10
Author: Dave (freaky_dave) from United States
5 March 2006

Total Recall was a fun film. It was loaded with action, typical of any Swarzenegger film. It was also pretty bloody, but compared to some films nowadays, the violence seems rather tame.

Douq Quaid (Arnold Swarzenegger) has a loving wife named Lori (Sharon Stone) and a good job as a construction worker on Earth. It would seem his life is good, but he is having strange vivid dreams about Mars and being part of the resistance group there that is battling the evil dictator Vilos Cohaagen (Ronny Cox). You see, Cohaagen has control of the colony and all the air which allows the colonists to inhabit the planet. Also in these dreams, Quaid has a relationship with one of the resistance fighters named Melina (Rachel Ticotin), who is a brunette, unlike his wife.

Wanting to understand these dreams, Quaid goes to a memory implant service to get a trip to Mars. Afterward everything seems to spiral out of control as Doug finds that many people he knew before aren't the same, including himself. Once on Mars things get even crazier as he finds himself being chased by a guy named Ricter (Michael Ironside). He also discovers some startling truths, but he also discovers more lies as well.

Though not on the same par as the Terminator films, director Paul Verhoeven (who did Robocop and Starship Troopers) has given us an exciting film with some unusual and funny characters that pop up on the screen at different times. The special effects were good for their time, but now would seem a little dated. I liked it and would recommend it as an enjoyable pop-corn flick.

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Paul Verhoeven does not disappoint

8/10
Author: sHERIFFOFSHERIFFSTOWN from United States
21 January 2006

Paul Verhoeven does not disappoint. This is one roller-coaster ride of a movie.

This film is about a man who leads a fairly dull life. I mean, he has a nice wife, but a dead end job as a construction worker in the year 2084 A.D. He has an odd fascination with the planet mars and craves the adventure of one day being able to take a trip there. While riding the bus to his area of work, he notices an ad for a pseudo-trip. I say pseudo because the trip is not real, but an insertion of memory. This place is called recall, and what they do is insert a memory chip, enabling you to believe that you took a vacation to a place that you probably could not afford otherwise. Quaid can see no reason in not going to recall, so he goes- only for the procedure to go terribly wrong, when Quaid realizes that he has already been to mars, and is now a wanted man.

Good flick. Seems to live in the same vein as the fifth element. Or the fifth element seems to live in the same vein as total recall, rather. I think that's right. Well anyway, it had some cool graphics, I especially liked the one with the no-air-eyes-pop-out thing. Really cool. My only real complaint is that some of the fight scenes looked like they were filmed by a four year old. Now maybe its because I have seen way too many kung-fu movies, and I believe our generation to be living in a generation of old kung-fu rip-off's (**cough cough** the matrix **cough cough**). The main question on this board seems to be "was it a dream?" Well that much is up to you. But overall good film. Good enough for an 8/10 at least.

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Brutal action from the beginning of 1990's

8/10
Author: tomimt from Finland
13 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I like brutal action movies and Total Recall is just that: bloody and brutal and well directed.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Dennis Quid, a construction worker who learns, after a visit to Rekall memory travel office, that his whole life is just a planted memory. Soon everyone is out to get him and he must head to Mars to find out what really is going on.

The main level of the story is the action. Arnold and co. swipe baddies from left and right and we are shown these grotesque mutants and special effects.

The more subtle level of the story is asking us, if everything shown to us is just a dream, and his wife (Sharon Stone) really wasn't out to kill him. That there really wasn't an ancient martian machinery beneath the surface, no real conspiracy at all. Just a man dreaming.

I'm pretty sure Arnold fans like the movie, like I did. Sure it has some glitches and most of the stuff presented in it is pretty unbelievable, but the film works, even though some of the effects are showing their age.

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To quote: "...it's 2084 AD and Douglas Quaid is haunted by recurring dreams about a journey to Mars..."

9/10
Author: mr_sandman55 from Reading, England
18 July 2004

The genre for this film is: sci-fi/thriller. This film deserves 9.0/10.

I viewed this film when I was a teenager quite a few times, and really loved it. This is a great science fiction work with a complex storyline, and after such a long time of not having seen this film, it really enthralled me viewing it again, since I'm now owning it on DVD.

The fact that the main lead is Arnie (Schwarzenegger) is the added bonus, as this film is high on action, so naturally, he was suited to this film. He plays his character really well, Douglas Quaid, the guy who starts to recall some locked memories, and a guy who has to start questioning his real life and to be suspicious of the people he thought he knew. Arnie adds his wit with his classic (sometimes cheesy) one-liners.

The female leads are played by Rachel Ticotin and Sharon Stone, who both give it all in action and drama, and the villains are played well by Michael Ironside and Ronny Cox.

The visual effects and make-up are top notch, with very futuristic scenes, and the ending is superb. The action set pieces are stunning and violent. And with Mars as the back drop theme for the story, it makes great viewing. I loved the theme music, which was varied through the film, great sci-fi sounds.

A brilliant sci-fi movie, not to be missed ;)

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Solid Arnold, But Not A Classic

7/10
Author: Bill Slocum (bill.slocum@gmail.com) from Greenwich, CT United States
12 July 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Now that Arnold's acting days are on indefinite hiatus, maybe its time for an in-depth appreciation of his cinematic work. No, wait a minute, I'm serious. He was in some damn fine action flicks, movies which in many ways helped establish the popular culture of the 1980s and early 1990s. He has a body of work now, with a primitive beginning of Cannon cheapos and the first Terminator, a fruitful and successful middle period (including this film, T2, and 'True Lies,') and a kind of flabby but still energetic late period. What's it all about?

The problem is Arnold was never much of an actor, and even though he did get better, exuding real charm and some humanity as he went along, he was never going to be John Wayne in "The Searchers," or even Charles Bronson in "Death Wish." "Total Recall" shows much of the limitations of his performance, like poor diction, unconvincing "heartfelt" dialogue ("C'mon Cohagen, give dese people AIR" always cracks me up) and a wooden over-reliance on his brawny image. His wisecracks are hit-and-miss, like Roger Moore's in the 007 series, only Roger kind of knew when he had a real groaner and played it for what it was worth with those eyebrows of his. Arnold delivers lines like "You think this is the real Quaid? It is!" like he thinks he's Noel Coward with an Uzi.

I go along with much of what the previous poster from Saffron Walden U.K. said, but I don't think Schwarzenegger was quite as bad as that. He did have a definite something to offer, and when he wasn't required to project too much, he could deliver, at least until he started demonstrating real flair and subtlety with "True Lies" and "Last Action Hero." Here, he isn't quite there yet.

None of the acting in this movie is great. Ronny Cox looms over the proceedings like Olivier despite his one-note bad guy simply because the rest of the cast, especially Mel Johnson Jr. as the cabbie Benny but also Rachel Ticotin as Melina and Sharon Stone as Lori, are so obviously uncomfortable in the relatively undemanding roles they are given. Michael Ironside I'll give a pass to, he has presence, but I'd be much more impressed if I saw him portray a social worker for once, or St. Francis.

But Cox is good, and has some juicy lines, especially when he tells Melina she'll be reprogrammed to become "what every woman should be." That's funny and menacing work. 'I'll be home in time for Corn Flakes,' too. I don't know how he figured on that, but at least here's one screen villain with an appreciation for a well-balanced breakfast.

Also, the script is quite clever, and worth likening to "The Game" and "Momento" in the way it plays with reality and perception, by characters and audience alike. Like those films, it's somewhat handicapped by a lack of heart, but it's an engaging mindtrip when you ponder to think of the three different hypotheses it offers.

[Slight spoiler alert] People differ strongly on whether Quaid is experiencing the real thing or a botched memory implant that ends with a terminal lobotomy, but it could also be simply that the program worked as advertised and Quaid is on the verge of safely waking up at the end of the film. That scenario has logic problems, of course, as do the other two, but at least this third possibility comes with the silver lining that no one is really ever hurt in the entire movie. [End of spoiler alert.]

The mixed bag of "Total Recall" continues with the special effects. There are some amazing shots of the characters' faces as they run out of breathable air (done with puppets, not CGI), and clever visual cuts like the blood-drenched computer screen that turns into a Martian landscape. But the sets are dreary, claustrophobic, and full of cheesy '80s neon. The mutants when we see them, especially the sad Yoda-wannabe Kuato, are from hunger. Comparing this to that other Philip K. Dick adaptation, "Blade Runner," shows how less-advanced FX can be more than made up for by a director with depth in vision. I for one don't see much of an improvement here over "The Running Man," which Schwarzenegger made three years before.

What was amazing about this film, and still is now, is the rapid-fire pacing, the way the violence and gore mount with comic timing and at the same time carry the story breathlessly from one plot point to another. I remember seeing this in the theaters in 1990, and how people were exiting shaking their heads and smiling in amazement at what they just witnessed, the pure adrenaline rush it had given them. It still delivers on that count, and it's got that clever story arc besides. Even if you accept what happens here at face value, it offers up some brilliant twists, like the revelation of Quaid's true identity and Lori's part in Cohagen's scheme. Good films often work on multiple levels, and "Total Recall" is a good film in that respect.

So while I'm not wild about this one, I respect it. I like Arnold's choice in scripts. I just wish his acting skills at that time had caught up with his tastes.

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