Friday, July 27, 2012

Movie Vault Review: Total Recall [1990]

Year Of Release: 1990
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven
Written By: Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett, Gary Goldman, John Povill
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, Mel Johnson Jr., Marshall Bell.
Duration: 113 minutes
In A Nutshell:
Set in the future, constuction worker Douglas Quaid (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) has constant dreams/nightmares of being on the planet Mars. His wife, Lori (played by Sharon Stone) isn't too fond of his plans for vacation on the planet. Douglas in turn goes to Rekall, a company that provides virtual vacation memories implanted into customers. Things go awry and he is forced to go to the planet for real. Or is he?
Thumbs Up:
+ Fairly interesting Sci-Fi story with a few twists thrown in
+ Fun 80s old-school style action sequences (see also thumbs down)
+ Special effects that were ground-breakingly amazing during its era while favourably refreshing when viewed today
+ Plenty of moments to make you go "WOW"
+ Wisecracking and witty dialogues/quotes
Thumbs Down:
- The action sequences require a great degree of suspending belief

The Verdict Is In:
There are plenty articles out there nowadays discussing the extinction of the blockbuster actor. No longer is a movie guaranteed to generate hundreds of millions at the box-office just by having an actor's name attached to it. Blockbuster directors still exists but actors are becoming rare breeds. The era which these marquee names were prominent was actually my favourite movie era, the 80s and early 90s (it was my childhood, I'm nostalgic like that... or perhaps I'm still a kid trapped in a man's body, my action figure collection might point to that). The biggest of them all arguably was former Mr. Universe, California Govenor, and number one on my list of 7 Favourite Athletes Turned Actors, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

After Terminator 2: Judgement Day [1991] and Predator [1987], this is my favourite film from the Governator. The Sci-Fi plot here is rather interesting with a few twists and moments that make you go "whoa!" (the two photos above as an example, also notable is a three-boob woman). The special effects back then was considered revolutionary, I remember how the X-ray scene in the photo below put people in awe. In fact the effects in the movie were nominated for an Oscar. Even by today's standards, I consider it to be refreshing with it's emphasis on old-school style puppetry and make-up instead of computer-generated images. We barely get to see characters or creatures made using that technique today. Guillermo del Toro being the only exception (would have been interesting if he had stayed on to direct The Hobbit [2012] ). I wonder what the new remake starring Colin Farrel next week will be like?

Of course like most of Arnie's and action films from that period, it requires a high level of suspending belief when viewed in the present day. Often times you would go "oh, come on!" or "stupid bad guy!".  But these type of action were quite fun. I don't want to use the cliché term, "leaving your brain at door", because I don't believe in the concept and the story in this movie does have a level of complexity to it. But if you can get past the illogical aspects of the action then this is a very enjoyable flick indeed.
Selected Quote:
"If I'm not me, then who the hell am I?"
7.5 out of 10


  1. I saw this one ages ago, ironically I couldn't remember hardly anything, ahah. I'm looking forward to the remake though, the footage at comic-con last year looks great!

    1. Before this week, it had been ages for me too. And yeah, the footage does look great.

  2. antara fav masa kecik..actually abg aku nyer fav, aku tumpang sekaki..tapi mmg ingat gak ah flick ni..tak sabar for the remake..

    fav scene : sharon stone "tie me up"

    1. dulu masa kecik, iklan kat tv scene x-ray tuh memang awesome! watak sharon stone dlm versi baru kate beckingsale main.

    2. fav scene aku masa mata-mata membeliak, dan mutant yg tersimpan dlm badan lelaki gemuk tu, entahlah, aku suka benda2 dekat2 Lynchian ataupun Croenberg, dan filem ni ada soft spot utk tu.

    3. Mutant tuh = Kuato. Antara benda best yg xde dlm remake baru...

  3. By no means is this a total sci-fi movie classic, but if you're looking for some good old-fashioned, Arnie fun, this will probably do the trick. It gets a bit corny by the end, but it's still a lot of fun and you can't go wrong with that. Good review Asrap.

    1. It does get corny, but overall I'll still say its very enjoyable.

  4. I liked the movie but I saw it a long time ago. The remake looks really bad, Beckinsale and Biel in one film can't be good.

    1. Biel I'm indifferent with, but Beckinsale is one of the best eye-candys on screen to me.

  5. Congrats. I have picked your site to win the Liebster Award. read more about it here.

    1. Thanks. I'm working on it and will probably up on my blog anniversary on Monday.

  6. This flick is a classic, I don't care what anyone says. If you want 80's/90's action, you can't go wrong with Total Recall. Ever.

    As for the new one, I was looking forward to it, till I saw it's PG-13 rating. I mean, am I to be denied 2012's version of the three boobed lady? That's ridiculous. If we can't show boobs in a PG-13 flick, then at least give me two-ass lady or something. Please?

    My favorite line seems to apply here:
    Consider that a divorce.

    1. This is classic 80s/90s action. I'm with you on that. The action might be a little out of place nowadays, but I think its a whole lot of fun.

      I've seen the new one already. Just made a review. Nowhere as good as the original.


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