February 21, 2006
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Written by: Philip K. Dick (story), Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon et al.
Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High
Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High
Key Cast Members:
Overview: Total Recall is one of the better known cyberpunk movies from the late 80s to early 90s. This is cyberpunk all the way with intense memory modification, a dystopic future, and malformed humans of all styles. The visuals are sometimes cheesy, but always pretty fun, and include various shots like a 3-breasted woman, exploding heads, bulging eyes, and this guy below. This is one of Arnold’s better roles, although the story does tend to rely on a continual stream of head-jerking mind fucks.
Taken from Philip K. Dick’s story, “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale,” Total Recall stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as an everyday man, Douglas Quaid, who craves something different in his life. He keeps on having realistic dreams about Mars and decides to visit Mars virtually. He goes to “the Recall Corporation” to get some memories manufactured and installed - ones that are exciting, and speak of Mars, espionage and slutty, athletic women!
Unfortunately, things go very wrong. In the process of getting his new memories installed, he wakes up to find that things are not as they seem – in fact he doesn’t know if he woke up at all, or if whether he’s still experiencing a memory impact at the Total Recall Corporation. Things get weirder and weirder, and involve a trip to Mars, and sleazy corporate plots.
Total Recall gets Arnold to truly stretch his emotion capabilities, as we get to see him act in ways he really hasn’t done elsewhere. The rest of the cast isn’t exceptional, but puts in serviceable performances. Rachel Ticotin (the slutty athletic chick), Sharon Stone (Douglas’s wife, or maybe not), Ronny Cox (the evil corporate dude) and Michael Ironside (The evil right hand guy) all provide us with memorable characters.
The Bottom Line: All in all, Total Recall is not the greatest movie ever, and has some significant science issues and plot holes, but it’s a truly fun ride with lots of replay potential. It does the memory modification thing very well, and while you get your head jerked around a bit, overall, the plot works.