I want to tell you that I was interested in this next one because the plot was intriguing. I want to tell you it was because it’s special effects were fresh and innovative. I want to tell you that it was because it had multiple twists and turns that kept you second guessing yourself at every point. The film had all of this…but those were not the reasons I really wanted to see this movie to begin with.
Unfortunately at 13 years old, I was shallow, and *clears throat* … developing?
It’s a phrase.
Anyways…the movie was released in theaters when I was 12, it was available on VHS when I was 13 and all my friends had seen it. I of course, had not. It was rated R after all and there was no way I was going to wait for a made for TV version for three crucial reasons…
I’m realizing this will be the post that finally gets me into trouble with some of my audience. Apologies, but without honesty, what are we, really?
My friend Jimmy: So I saw Total Recall…
Jimmy: You seen it?
Jimmy: There’s a lady with three boobs in it…
Me: (jaw drops, eyes widen)…
At this very simple stage in a straight young man’s life, the only goal is “more mammary.”
Deal with it.
So I did what I always did when my parents wouldn’t let me watch something I wanted to. I went over to my cousins and made sure they rented it.
On my first viewing, this is what my brain was doing:
Where are they? Where are they? Where are they? Where are they? …
At approximately the 45 minute mark (the pseudo moment of truth).
I had built myself up too much for it and found out the hard way that two’s plenty and thank you.
Needless to say, I watched it again and shifted my focus.
It was a great movie.
This is the fourth Schwarzenneger movie that I am writing about. “Predator” is easily in my top three of best “pure action” movies of all time. “The Terminator” introduced me to great science-fiction and story elements. “Commando” was just fun. “Total Recall” was fresh, exciting, intriguing, packed full of action and kept you guessing even through the end credits. It’s the first Arnold movie when I finally sat down and watched it for what it was and realized that Arnold was actually a better actor than anyone gives him credit for. Like John Wayne, I think we right him off as typecast and as another big dumb guy that talks funny. I’m here to tell you that “Total Recall” proves he is much more than that.
Our premise is a future world where Mars has been semi-colonized for its resources and a man that is living a dreary life decides to take a virtual vacation (lays in a machine and experiences his adventure in a dream state) to Mars.
This is a movie with mutated human/martians (three boobs–remember?), brain probes that need to be extracted through your nose canal, malfunctioning robotic disguises, eye-popping suffocation scenes, and femmes fatales galore.
It sounds ridiculous, but this is a movie winking at itself the entire time while delivering a very suspenseful tale trickled with moments of great action. I mean, Arnold is in it after all.
The entire setup is to determine whether what he is experiencing is real or virtual. I’m telling you, I’ve seen the movie five times. I don’t know if it is real or virtual. I believe what I want and I think that Paul Verhoeven wants all of us to draw the same conclusion; whatever you desire.
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