Monday, 25 April 2011

Get your ass to Muars!! - Total Recall (Carolco - 1990)

They Stole His Mind....Now He Wants It Back!

I love a good Arnie film. Loads of slam-bang action, cool stunts and awesome one liners (who can forget the 'stick around' line in Predator after he sticks someone with a knife to a piece of wood?). So, being a die hard fan, I had to watch Total Recall when it first came on Sky back in 1991. Based on Philip K. Dick's novel 'We Can Remember It For You Wholesale', Total Recall tells the story of Doug Quaid, a lowly construction worker who is inexplicably drawn to a company called Rekall, who specialises in fake memory implants of holidays. Whilst going under for a 'trip', old suppressed memories of his old life resurface. Finding that the only way out of the whole mess, and get his life back, is to go to Mars and unravel the mystery whilst helping a bunch of freedom fighters against an evil corporation. Keeping up so far? No, me neither!
That is one big bogey. Hope he has enough tissue!

TR is one of those films that requires multiple watchings, just to get the story, as you think it's one thing, but when you watch it again, you think 'or is it this instead?' It throws so many twists that you don't know which way is up, and if the whole movie happens to him or not. Being directed by Paul Verhoeven, the dutch guy who directed Robocop, it has his trademarks: excessive violence, tongue in cheek humour and a sense that it doesn't take itself seriously (or does it??). It also looks as though there are no CGI effects in this movie at all, making it one of the last movies ever to use miniatures and models, and puppets which, in my personal opinion, makes the film look more natural and organic, and not as fake like CG.
I suppose that's one way to get 'a head!' (I'll get me coat!)

Jerry Goldsmith again comes up with a great score to accompany the action on screen, and adds some impact to the fights, especially against Richter on the lift. Sci-Fi seemed to be Goldsmith's forte, and I could quite happily listen to them all on their own. All in all, Total Recall is an enjoyable action romp with more turns than Silverstone, more mutants than Fallout 3 and a body count to rival Rambo. And it's all bloody good fun too! So, get your ass to Muars, and get ready for a surprise!


  1. What a film, I hear there is a remake on route shortly that doesn't actually occur on Mars and tries to take away from the craziness of the original, sounds poor to me!

  2. Philip K. Dick's novels have made some great action films that are enjoyable on their own merit, but I think this is the only one that is totally successful in its attempts to capture how open to interpretation the novels are. PKD really messes with the reader's head and on finishing one, my head is always swimming with ideas and possibilities. This film gave me the same feeling.

    Good shout concerning the lack of CG. It seems that CG is aging films really badly, Lord of the Rimgs already looks a little dodgy, and I remember bring wowed by that on release, whereas this, the original Star Wars and Labyrinth still look awesome.

  3. I love this too, always been one of my favourite Arnie films :)