Total Recall

Dir: Paul Verhoeven
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Ironside, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone

Ah, remember when a $63m budget would make you the most expensive movie ever? Those were the days. Nostalgia aside, this has worn well, with only a few of the effects now looking ropey. I'd forgotten quite how hyperviolent it is, most memorably Arnie's use of an innocent bystander as a human shield, but perhaps the most fun is trying to work out whether it all happens inside Doug's head. Is the film really his vacation? After all, the woman on screen at Recall is exactly like Rachel Ticotin, and he does get the girl, kill the bad guys (Ironside is particularly praiseworthy) and save the planet, precisely as promised. In addition, the science on view is so laughably ropey (despite an extra finger, Arnie's hand fits an alien device, and Mars gets a breathable atmosphere in about two minutes), that the only logical explanation is it's fabricated. All this, and perhaps Arnie's finest one-liner ever - "Consider that a divorce..." - make it highly satisfactory, regardless of the distance strayed from Dick's original.


What we said then [7] Four directors, innumerable rewrites and $63 million after starting, the most-expensive-movie- ever-made arrives. Was it worth it? First of all, forget the Philip K.Dick story; this was "inspired" by it but you'd have as much ground for claiming Robocop or Commando were the base sources. All the subtle nuances and disquieting paranoia goes out the window, except where it allows Arnie to blow up a few people/objects/vehicles, and you're left with a generally predictable story. Characterization is next to non-existent as far as Schwarzenegger goes - he plays the same character as in his previous movies, dumb and tough with a basically good heart. Yet it is one hell of an action pic - Paul Verhoeven could make Brookside a tense and gripping drama so given the large amounts of pyrotechnics available here, he's on home territory. Michael Ironside, as the chief violent opposition for Arnie, is psychotically vicious and delivers the groceries. Overall, the film does so too - in terms of FX, sets and nice touches to give the future some substance, you'll not see better this year, but I was sorta hoping for something more than 'Rambo on Mars'. 7/10.

Arnie gets Dick-ed
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