STARRING: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell

1990, 108 Minutes, Directed by: Paul Verhoeven

Paul Verhoeven does his Robocop ultra-violence thing again, this time with action supremo Arnold Schwarzenegger. The story may be only vaguely based on a short story by Philip K. Dick called We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, but the fooling around with reality and paranoia is pure, um, Dick.

The story involves a construction worker who becomes convinced that he is actually a spy and sets out to save Martian colonists from an evil multinational corporation.

Well, actually there's more to it as the plot veers from one surprise and twist to the next about every ten minutes or so. Is he really a spy or is everything happening to him just a product of the memory implants of a firm which sells you memories of a vacation instead of the real thing? And so on.

Verhoeven keeps the whole thing chugging along neatly with a huge dollop of ultra-violence and gore. Schwarzenegger is at his best ever: in one scene he shoots his wife (?) who has turned out to be an enemy agent all the time through the head, stating nonchalantly "Consider this a divorce."

Hype had it back then that this was one of the most expensive movies ever made, although exact figures were never revealed. If it is, not everything is on the big screen. While the special effects are very well-done and clever, it doesn't count as one of the most spectacular films ever made. This is perhaps because of Verhoeven choosing a neo-Aztec/Albert Speer type of look for the future. Very interesting - but not spectacular in let's say the way Blade Runner was.

Total Recall's screenplay was knocked around Hollywood for decade or so. At one point it was due to be filmed by a subdivision of Disney with Richard Dreyfuss in the leading role - which just illustrates how many rewrites this film has undergone!


# 83
of the
Top 100 Sci-Fi Movies
of all time



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