Here in Australia, the remake of Paul Paul Verhoeven’s iconic sci-fi/action flick Total Recall (1990) opens tomorrow. So I thought this was an apt time to take a look at the original. First of all, check out the awesome trailer for it below.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is undoubtedly one of the biggest actions stars in movie history. In my humble opinion, he is also probably one of the top 5 worst actors to have made a living by being an actor. In this film, Arnie plays the most buff everyman in history. When our hero goes to have memories of wondrous vacations to Mars implanted, he ends up discovering that his real memory has been wiped and that he actually was a secret agent who worked on the red planet. The rest of the film follows him as he attempts to piece together his past and who he really is. Thankfully, despite Arnie’s shortcomings as an actor, he is surrounded by some more assured performer chief amongst them being Sharon Stone, who is fantastic as his wife.
Total Recall is based on the Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember it for you Wholesale”. Dick is one of my favourite sci-fi authors and his fiction is generally concerned with ideas about identity, the future and many other things. But it is ideas rather than action that are at their core. It is a little strange then that so many films have been made of his work. Total Recall chooses to dispense with most of the ideas and instead focuses on the action. It is really an action flick with a dash of sci-fi sauce on top. But it is an extremely fun one. The action, despite the sci-fi trimmings, is extremely realistic with cool hand to hand fight scenes and a willingness to show a little blood. Actually a willingness to show a whole lot of blood – this is a very violent film. The film is also really quite funny. Often when it does not intend to be, but there are also some pretty inspired scripted comedic touches as well. The film is a little dated, but no sci-fi film predicts technology completely successfully. And some of the dated aspects are quite cool to see these days – the most 80s opening credits ever, and miniature work, which you never see in this age of CGI everything.
I have to say, I consider this film a fun action romp rather than any form of stone cold classic. Others who saw the film closer to its original release, may be able to give some insight as to why the film is so revered. One thing the film has done though is gotten me intrigued to see what they come up with for the remake. Especially given the replacing of the ultra-buff Schwarzenegger, with the more normally proportioned Colin Farrell and the apparent decision not to have any Mars based action.
So there are my thoughts on the original Total Recall. Definitely try and take the chance to see it before the remake opens near you, and please share your thoughts on both films.
Verdict: Stubby of Reschs
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