Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pose Reviews A Movie. #9: Total Recall (1990)

Is there anything more entertaining than watching how people in 1990 envisioned the future?

The answer is no.

More specifically, "hell no."

Before he made Showgirls, but after he made Robocop, but before he made Starship Troopers, cinematic prodigy Paul Verhoeven made a little film with a very large man--Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall.

And the result? A great sci-fi classsic of the VHS-era that would eventually be mocked relentlessly by a video store clerk twenty years in the future.

The plot of Total Recall is fairly simple:

1. Man rides subway.
2. Man sees advertisement for memory-implanting service that gives him recollection of trip to Earth colony on Mars.
3. Man undergoes surgery.
4. Surgery accidentally unearths man's erased memories.
5. Man realizes he used to be a rebel Martian and returns to Mars, guided by clues he left himself before his memory-erasure.

Or at least I think that's the plot. I'm not really sure. I watched a VHS copy that I bought for $4.00 at a used record store in Toronto, and whoever owned it before me taped over like five solid minutes of exposition with a Discovery Channel special on MRI brain scans.

The weird thing is, for the first minute or two I thought it was just part of the movie.

Anyway, given that the aforementioned "Man" is played by Schwarzenegger, you can rightly assume that the space between plot points is rich in high-speed chases and skillful-but-accidental evasion of laser gunfire. All in a day's work!

So what are the perks of this interplanetary sci-fi thriller? Well, Sharon Stone was still hot, the special effects are delightfully campy, and Verhoeven's vision of the future (adapted from Philip K. Dick's original story, though I'm not sure how faithfully) is both endearing and hilarious, considering that the real 2010 turned out to be significantly more advanced than the imagined 2084--at least in terms of the minor details.

Thus, on account of its nostalgic qualities, Total Recall is a lot of fun. It showcases Arnie in his prime (or at least before he made Jingle All The Way), it has a veritable buffet of ridiculous and outlandish plot-twists, and let's not forget the whole host of classic one-liners, none of which are devoid enough of profanity for me to iterate them here.

Overall, Verhoeven's 1990 endeavor is a joyous blast from the past's version of the future. And if that phrase made any sense to you at all, you're ready for Total Recall.

1 comment:

The Wizaard said...