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Total Recall

Total Recall (1990)

June. 01,1990
| Adventure Action Science Fiction

Construction worker Douglas Quaid's obsession with the planet Mars leads him to visit Recall, a company who manufacture memories. Something goes wrong during his memory implant turning Doug's life upside down and even to question what is reality and what isn't.


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Loosely based on a short story, "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale," by Philip K. Dick and first published in a 1966 issue of "The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction", Total Recall (1990) includes such Dickian elements as the confusion of fantasy and reality, machines talking back to humans, and the protagonist's doubts about his own identity. The futurist thriller was remade in 2012 with Colin Farrell, which didn't reach the awesomeness of the original but is some well-crafted, high energy sci-fi fun nonetheless.


If this film had been billed as comedy instead of science fiction I would have given it a higher rating. But, alas, it seems that the director was only trying to appeal to the most unsophisticated audiences possible; and in that regard I guess he succeeded. The acting was terrible throughout. Arnold was his usual wooden self with some of the worst dialogue imaginable. Even his patented tough guy one-liners were predictable and lame (he says "consider that a divorce" after shooting Sharon Stone, his pretend wife, in the head). And most of his actions scenes, which comprised most of the movie, were simply laughable. It seems to me that Arnold's best acting work is as a robot.Sharon Stone wasn't much better unless her goal was to portray a cartoonish, sleazy bitch that no one could take seriously. If that was the case she pulled it off pretty well.It actually scares me to see so many reviewers rate this piece of trash 10 stars. What were they watching! How low are their standards! I suppose if all it takes are a bunch of loud explosions, lots of breaking glass, and completely implausible chase scenes to make one happy, then this film delivers on all counts. But is that what it has come to?After viewing this gigantic failure I Googled Philip K Dick to see if he was still around to witness this atrocious portrayal of his work. He wasn't. It was sad to see that he died so young (53), but at least he didn't have to witness this insult to his talent and imagination. Oh well, we'll always have Blade Runner!


I wasn't expecting much from an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie but this was actually pretty good. I'm not really into action movies but this has plenty of fights and shoot outs, if that's your thing. There are a few good jokes. My favorite is that the midget hooker is named Thumbelina. That's comedy gold. The special effects aren't the best, it's easy to see that they are in front of a green screen, but it doesn't really hurt the movie. I'm sure the reboot has much better effects, I will have to check it out.

Thomas Drufke

Much like a lot of Arnold Schwarzenegger's films, Total Recall is action packed, boasts great special effects, and one-liners. But this time, it's handled with intelligent ideas and thought provoking themes. Luckily, most of the time everything comes together nicely.Total Recall is based off a Phillip K. Dick short story, which is why it's no surprise this film tries to tackle a whole lot of interesting science fiction proposals. Even when the films themselves aren't always the best, I've always found Dick's ideas to be fascinating. Total Recall is about a man caught up in a mysterious sequence of events that may just alter his life on earth for good, or should I say his life on Mars. It takes place in 2084 where it's possible to take a "virtual vacation" to wherever you want. Naturally, a lot of people choose other planets, including the habitable planet of Mars. Douglas Quaid, played by Schwarzenegger, decided to take on the mission to gain his life back.However, it becomes increasingly clear that his life that he thought he had, is no longer in reach. Being that it's an action film, Quaid is pretty much on the run the rest of the movie, and chaos inevitably ensues. Schwarzenegger is great at all the action, and handles enough of the heavy and heady material to get by. I think where this film doesn't always succeed is when it tries to bite off more than it can chew. Whether it be because of the directing, writing, or acting, Total Recall becomes swallowed in twists and turns that don't always work in the context of the film they set up.I know there are endless amounts of theories about whether Quaid is dreaming or not. And while it's an interesting question that the film proposes, this isn't necessarily what I'm referring to. The third act is about twist after twist that feels more desperate than it does natural. Take Inception for example, that film deals with similar themes, but it does so by revealing things one by one, instead of depending on how shocked the audience can get. There's a big difference between twists and reveals.Overall, Total Recall is definitely one of the better sci-fi's that attempts to balance a light-hearted tone with heavy themes. It just sometimes gets caught up in being too bold instead of staying bright.+Phillip K. Dick's ideas+Fun & thought provoking-But sometimes those themes collapse on themselves.7.6/10