3 ago. 2012

My Review: Total Recall (1990): 5/10


¨If I am not me, then who the hell am I? ¨

I decided to revisit the 1990 hit film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger since the remake with Colin Farrell is coming out this weekend. I really couldn’t recall what the movie was about except for a couple of scenes, but in all honesty I don’t think this film has aged very well. Arnold may have been an action hero during the 80`s and 90`s, but he really isn’t a very good actor. I preferred him in more comedic roles actually, although I must admit he was great in the Terminator films. Total Recall fails because it tries to take itself too seriously and goes a little over the top with the violent scenes. I`m not against violent films, but in Total Recall it just feels a little over the top and exaggerated as is the case with most of Paul Verhoeven`s films (famous for Robocop, another film that is getting remade, but that I actually enjoyed more). There are some clever one liners that will get a smile out of you because it`s what Arnold is best at, but most of the dialogues feel forced. It just didn’t work for me. The concept of the movie is interesting and the ambiguity of the film is what many people liked, but I didn’t enjoy it all that much really. I think this is one of the worst Phillip Dick novels adapted for the big screen considering I liked Blade Runner, Minority Report, and The Adjustment Bureau a lot. This film plays out a little more cartoonish than the others, but unintentionally and that`s why I didn’t like it. It tried to be serious and ambiguous, but it ended up being cartoonish.

Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a construction worker who feels like his life is too ordinary and something is missing. He has a beautiful wife, Lori (Sharon Stone), but is obsessed with Mars and has this recurring dream where he is in Mars with a brunette who he has never met. There is a human civilization in Mars and Douglas dreams of taking a vacation there but doesn’t have the time or money to do so. Instead he decides to visit Rekall Inc., a company that specializes in implanting memories, and asks for a memory where he goes to Mars on a mission as a secret agent. Something goes wrong during the process and the doctor realizes that his brain has already been implanted and he`s been living on a fake memory. Douglas realizes that he actually isn’t who he thinks he is and begins discovering things about his past. Lori isn’t actually his wife; the memory was implanted in his head and she has only been posing as his wife during the last several weeks. Everything is a hoax, even his job as a construction worker. Douglas finds himself running from several men who are trying to kill him and discovers a clue about his past. He`s actually a secret agent from Mars and somewhere in his head he has an important secret that the administrator from Mars named Cohaagen (Ronny Cox) is trying to keep locked up and hidden. Douglas travels to Mars to try to discover more information about his past while trying to decipher what is real and what is a memory implant.

I really didn’t like any of the performances in this film. Sharon Stone is beautiful here, but she just doesn’t give a very memorable performance. Arnold Schwarzenegger has some funny moments but he just can`t play the serious parts very well. Ronny Cox and Michael Ironside play one dimensional villains and the actor who plays the taxi driver, Benny, is just terrible and obnoxious. The story didn’t work for me either so there were very few things I liked about Total Recall. They had some original and interesting ideas, but they just weren’t able to work them out in a cohesive manner. The science fiction and futuristic part of the film actually is what I enjoyed the most about it, but some of the effects were a little too far out. The scenes where some of the characters are being inflected by the atmosphere in Mars are way too cartoonish for my taste. Total Recall isn’t a terrible film, it has its entertaining moments with some good action scenes, but I just don’t think it`s a movie worth remaking.

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