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Total Recall

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Review by David Wilcock
3 stars out of 4

The booming introduction music finishes, and the camera sweeps over red mountains. We see two figures looking over a barren, and very red landscape. They kiss, then walk on. One of the characters (Schwarzenegger) slips, and falls. The glass on his mask cracks. His face scruches up, and his eye's begin to pop.....

Then Doug Quaid, played by Schwarzenegger, wakes up. It's all been a dream. He wakes up next to his beautiful wife, played by Stone, and the film begins...

TOTAL RECALL is a typical sci-fi film wrapped around an intresting (if far fetched) plot. Quaid, who has never been to Mars, keeps on having dreams of the planet, which has now been colanised. One day, while riding on a train, he's see's a ad for a company called 'Rekall', which implants memories of a holiday, instead of you actually going there yourself. Quaid chooses the 'Secret Agent on Mars' memory, and then the s*** really hits the fan.

The implant goes wrong, and Quaid really thinks he is an agent on Mars for about two minutes, until he goes back to normal and can't remember a thing. However, everyone he knows (his workmates, his wife) turn against him, saying how 'blabbed about Mars' and 'blew his cover on the mission' A strange man, called Richter, played by Ironside, wants to kill him. Quaid, now hopelessly confused, follows the advice given to him, by a 'friend'. He get's his ass to Mars.

Mars is ruled by Cohagen, played by Cox, who charges people for air. Against him are the rebels, who are mainly mutants. The rebel's need Quaid to defeat Cohagen, because Quaid knows (but can't remember yet) about a reactor that produces air. Eventually, Quaid kills Cohagen, turns on the reactor, saves the planet, and goes away with a beautiful girl, just like the guy at Rekall promised him.

Throughout this plot, there is huge explosions, thousands of deaths (and I mean a LOT of death) swearing, sex, and everything else that make's a good Verhoeven (director of Basic Instinct and Starship Troopers) movie. Naturally, there's some pretty imaginative deaths, with arms getting ripped off, someone getting drilled, and heads exploding. As you can tell, it's violent stuff. But it's done so stylishly, and of course Arnie tones it down with a one liner, that's it excusable.

The acting is variable. Arnie, of course, is useless, but he goes has some good lines, and in the first twenty minutes, he even act's like a normal bloke, not like some action hero. Stone, of course, is useless, making a pretty poor wife, and a pretty poor action hero. But, she does sex scenes alright. Ticoton (most recently seen in CON AIR), again, is OK, doing some good action, but getting her emotions all wrong. One minute she hates Quaid, the next she loves him, and she never gets this tranisition right.

So, the good guys are awful. But, the bad guy's are excellent. Cox is basically reprising ROBOCOP, but he's still great in this, and he delivers the best line in the whole film near the end. Ironside is superbly evil, with an utterly emotionless face. The supporting cast are fine, and not even the comedy sidekick (this time in the form of a taxi driver) is annoying.

One disappointing aspect, though, are the special effects. ILM and Dreamquest do some good work (such as a subway station scene) but the model work is not so good. Some of the model heads look appaling fake, and Quatto is a major disappointment. Another irritating thing is the product placement. There are a lot of plugs (and a good Mars Today gag) However, the sets look great, and the special effects at the end of the film aren't too bad either. There's also a good soundtrack running through, by Jerry Goldsmith (THE OMEN, POLTERGEIST, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE)

Overall, then, TOTAL RECALL is a hugely violent, yet hugely enjoyable, action fest, with a reasonable plot thrown in there too, some great bad guys, and some imaganitive death. For a Schwarzenegger movie, this is not bad at all. In fact, it's very good.

Copyright 1997 David Wilcock

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