HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Days of the Bagnold Summer
Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975, The
Apartment 1BR
1776
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Total Recall No Thanks For The Memory
Year: 1990
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell, Mel Johnson Jr, Michael Champion, Roy Brocksmith, Ray Baker, Rosemary Dunsmore, David Knell, Alexia Robinson, Dean Norris, Debbie Lee Carrington, Marc Alaimo
Genre: Action, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is the future, but some things stay the same, like bad dreams such as the ones Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) suffers every night. It's weird, why should he be dreaming of Mars so often, and why does every one of those dreams end with him dying horrifically - what could his connection to the now-colonised planet possibly be? His wife Lori (Sharon Stone) tries to comfort him and take his mind off it all, but even when he turns on the television he sees the local troubles they're having on the Red Planet, so could there be a way of channeling this into something more useful - like a virtual holiday, perhaps?

At the time Total Recall rejoiced in the reputation of being the most expensive film ever made, though even then, with so much money spent on it, it was far from the runaway success that its studio might have hoped for. But for whatever reason, with Paul Verhoeven guiding the action to be as lurid as possible, it did stick in the memory in a manner ironic considering how the plot was all about amnesia, whether it be Arnie's corny one-liners or the likes of a triple-breasted whore (with no thanks to Douglas Adams) once Quaid gets off Earth. This bizarre tone, almost as if Verhoeven was goading the audience, "Come on, you don't really take this seriously, do you?!", marked out a film which many took against.

Elton John renamed it "Total Rubbish", anyway, and there were punters lining up to agree with him, as if Ahnold had gone too far this time, sure we could accept him gunning down countless anonymous bad guys in Commando without so much thought, but when it came to a film that presented that same scenario and coaxed you into seeing it both as mindless entertainment and a spoof of that simultaneously, a lot of viewers felt their intelligence was being insulted. But Verhoeven was a very intelligent man, which went some way to excusing the excesses as what Total Recall was actually about was a theme that would become more and more important as the decades went by.

That was the theme of wish-fulfilment, where the main character would be some ordinary schlub, albeit one who usually looked like a movie star, when suddenly they were plunged into a world of action, suspense and sexual gratification if you were lucky, as if to say to us plain old boring folks watching, hey, this could happen to you: you could have an adventure like James Bond or Spider-Man, it's not beyond your means. This democratisation of the movies where the heroes and heroines increasingly were previously unspectacular until something incredible occurred had its roots in comic books, and before that even Cinderella fairy tales, but it took characters like Sarah Connor in The Terminator to truly prove a goldmine for blockbusters - basically Quaid and company told you that you didn't have to know what you were doing to save the day.

Here, when Quaid goes into Rekall Inc hoping he'll get invented memories of a stay on Mars without having to shell out for an actual visit, and it's all going to plan until there's a malfunction and abruptly his best friend from work and his wife want to kill him, but he has no idea why. It turns out, and crucially we can believe as much of this as we like, that Quaid is not a construction worker but a top secret agent who has to negotiate many hurdles to reach his goal, except he's not entirely cognisant of what that goal could be. Cue a lot of grimacing from Schwarzenegger as he has to pull a tracking device from his nose, avoid being sucked out into a vacuum, and tap into his inner executioner as he finds a Mars full of injustice with mutants at the bottom of the social ladder and boo-hiss Ronny Cox the governor at the top, making a fortune from mining but diverting attention away from a fairer way to live. That Quaid changes all that is no surprise, but that's part of the joke: Verhoeven really should have done lots more with the reality bending Philip K. Dick source, but he did enough. Music by Jerry Goldsmith.

[Studio Canal's DVD and Blu-ray have an audio commentary with Schwarzenegger and Verhoeven, a trailer, special effects featurette and a new interview with the director as extras - and the BD has even more.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2765 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Paul Verhoeven  (1938 - )

Dutch director who is no stranger to controversy. He became famous in his homeland for violent, sexually frank films such as Turkish Delight, Soldier of Orange (a fine war epic), Spetters and The Fourth Man, after which he moved to Hollywood.

His first American movie, Flesh + Blood, showed he meant to continue as he started, and he was rewarded with the huge hit RoboCop. This began a line of lurid science fiction adventures such as Total Recall, Starship Troopers and Hollow Man, but his sexually-themed Basic Instinct and Showgirls were equally uncompromising.

Verhoeven's sharp sense of humour tempers his over-the-top style, but he frequently sails too close to being ridiculous for many to take him seriously. The war drama Black Book, filmed in his native Holland, raised his standing once more, and his black comedy thriller Elle won great acclaim for star Isabelle Huppert.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: