HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
   
 
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
   
 
  Total Recall We Can Exploit It For You Wholesale
Year: 1990
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Ironside, Sharon Stone, Rachel Ticotin, Ronny Cox, Marshall Bell, Mel Johnson Jr, Michael Champion, Roy Brocksmith, Ray Baker, Rosemary Dunsmore, David Knell, Alexia Robinson, Dean Norris, Mark Carlton, Debbie Lee Carrington
Genre: Action, Trash, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 7 votes)
Review: There was a Golden Age for trash action movies, and that was the eighties. Epytomising this era of (seemingly) innocent exploitation and destruction was a colossus we all know, in the form of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Combining him with the King of Shit - Paul Verhoeven - produces films like Total Recall.

That might seem like an opening paragraph that sets the scene for a bad review, but please give me a chance to explain myself. I love Total Recall. I love it because there's always room for films like this. Not every Director can be Ingmar Bergman, and not every actor can be Laurence Olivier. When people recognise what they're good at and play to those strengths, a strange thing happens. Badly written films featuring awful acting, dreadful plots and shaky sets can become something loveable and entertaining, and those faults become fun to watch.

Perhaps growing up in the eighties and nineties has influenced my opinion of the works of Arnie and Verhoeven, but there's something wanton and ballsy about it all. There's a willingness about their films to be nothing more than they are, a genre I call 'Crapertainment'. When a film is crap but entertainingly so.

Verhoeven is not a fan of subtlety, and if a chance arises to feature a three-breasted hooker on Mars, that's a chance that won't be missed. If the chance then arises to have a character openly fondle said Hooker ("Baby, you make me wish I had three hands!"), all the better. If said triple-breaster can then be gunned down mercilessly by Nazi-esque security forces whilst a midget prostitute fires a burst of sub-machinegun fire from atop a bar - then why the hell not? And why not show it all in loving close-up?

Weakly written supporting characters abound - why is villain Cohaagen so cruel to the people of Mars? Such details are unimportant - and the main character himself spends the entire film wondering aloud about who he is and why he's drawn to Mars, a handy plot device which allows the film to focus on it's number one priority - Action. This is pure Arnie from the get go. Exploding fake heads that talk, chases ending in a dozen innocent deaths, random shootouts, pulling a golf ball out of your nose, violent limb-removal and an eye-popping trip to the surface of Mars all feature.

Originally a story by Phillip K Dick - whose work has been turned into so many films, almost entirely without success it would seem - the plot is actually surprisingly complex as well as being nonsensical. A company called Recall is offering implanted memories of holidays for those who can't afford the real thing. But when Hauser - Arnold Schwarzenegger - opts for some added extras in his holiday such as a 'Spy Mission' scenario, the implant apparently goes awry and he awakens hidden memories about Mars that reveal him to be an agent in real life, albeit one whose mind was wiped. Armed with a heap of questions about who, what, where and why, Arnie sets off for Mars to look for straightforward answers. He kills his way to the truth, before the inevitable ham-fisted romantic ending.

Or so it would seem. In spite of itself, Total Recall does manage to maintain a level of insecurity in the viewer regarding the true nature of the plot. At what point has reality been overtaken by the implant? Has it been overtaken at all? Is Hauser merely undergoing a psychotic episode?

At no point does Verhoeven reveal his hand. There are clues, to be sure, yet the plot remains beguilingly vague when it comes to easy answers. When all is said and done, however, there really aren't many questions. Arnie kills badguys by the boatload, there are some good effects (for the time) and plenty of one-liners. The pacing is nothing short of expert, as one would expect from a director who makes films specifically with a brainless and presumably intoxicated audience in mind.

On plenty of occasions, it's relaxing to slip into that costume for a while, kick back, and enjoy the appalling ride. Like a rundown ghost house at the end of a crappy pier - most of the laughs come from a knowing nudge to your co-passengers and a sarcastic comment or twelve.
Reviewer: Ted Forsyth

 

This review has been viewed 6724 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 (0)


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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: