Review: Total Recall (1990)

Total Recall (1990)

Directed by: Paul Verhoeven | 113 minutes | action, horror, thriller, adventure, science fiction | Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Rachel Ticotin, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell, Mel Johnson Jr., Michael Champion, Roy Brocksmith, Ray Baker, Rosemary Dunsmore, David Knell, Alexia Robinson, Dean Norris, Mark Carlton, Debbie Lee Carrington, Lycia Naff, Robert Costanzo, Michael LaGuardia, Priscilla Allen, Ken Strausbaugh, Marc Alaimo, Michael Gregory, Ken Gildin, Mickey Jones, Parker Whitman, Ellen Gollas, Gloria Dorson, Erika Carlson, Benny Corral, Bob Tzudiker, Erik Cord Frank Kopyc Chuck Sloan Dave Nicolson Paula McClure Rebecca Ruth Milt Tarver Roger Cudney Monica Steuer Sasha Rionda Linda Howell

After ‘RoboCop’, ‘Total Recall’ is the second American blockbuster in which Paul Verhoeven presents the viewer with a fictional future world. In ‘RoboCop’ Verhoeven painted a dark, satirical and macabre picture of the future metropolis of Detroit, ruled by rogue mega-corporations and unscrupulous criminals. ‘Starship Troopers’ (1997), also by Verhoeven, also sketches a futuristic, militarism-dominated world in which humanity wages war against giant alien insects. ‘Total Recall’ is a film with its own character, but people who have also seen the aforementioned films will certainly be able to see Verhoeven’s hand in this production. The setting for this story is another futuristic society where technology has really taken off and even offers people the opportunity to go on vacation to Mars or other parts of our solar system. Worker Douglas Quaid has recurring dreams about Mars, despite never actually being on the planet. His decision to embark on a virtual journey to the Red Planet through the Rekall company ultimately sets the stage for a dangerous and at times insane journey.

‘Total Recall’ is typically one of those movies that never gets boring, even if you’ve seen it countless times. Despite the occasionally very violent character, the film is not just an active hiccup fully supported by Arnold Schwarzenegger. On the contrary, the story is intelligent and some unexpected plot twists keep the film captivating, suspenseful and fairly unpredictable. For example, the question remains whether the developments on Mars really take place or are just the visualization of the virtual trip that Quaid at Rekall Inc. experiences. One of the two scenarios seems to have a higher probability given the development of the story and the information given, but an unequivocal answer is nowhere given. Arnold Schwarzenegger is perfectly at home in this production and portrays Quaid as a powerful action hero who also has the necessary humor. Ronny Cox and Michael Ironside are also excellently cast as the main villains, while Sharon Stone also nicely shapes her (limited) role as Quaid’s petulant wife. The intelligent story is further completed by beautiful effects that (certainly for a film from 1990) still look very decent.

‘Total Recall’ is a film that will appeal to fans of hard-hitting action movies as well as fans of the more intelligent films from the SF genre. Especially viewers who are fond of films like ‘Blade Runner’ or ‘RoboCop’ will certainly enjoy themselves with this print.

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