The Man Movie Encyclopedia: Total Recall
The early 90’s was a boom period for sci-fi blockbusters. We had the obvious, Total Recall, along with Terminator 2: Judgment Day, & Demolition Man. It was nice to find out that in the future, there were still going to be some buff ass-kickers who were a World’s sole answer. Nevermore was this evident than in the 1990 uber-hit, Total Recall, starring Schwarzenegger as Douglas Quaid.
The film starts off with Quaid mobbing around Mars with a chick. It’s my assumption that he probably wanted to do it on the surface of Mars, so when he takes his hangdang out, the pressure and such would expand and swell his member beyond it’s normal awe-inspiring size. See, that’s a brilliant move, because most guys are sissies and would be too stupid to risk having their guts explode just so they can add some inches & girth to their wiener. Anyways, so they walk for a little while before a part of the cliff gives out, due to Quaid’s rocking muscles, and they fall for awhile before their helmet shields crack and awesomeness happens. That’s why you know the remake will suck, because this would just be some CGI bullshit.
So, we find out that this is all a dream, and Doug Quaid is in fact a married construction worker who’s never been to Mars, but has some sort of connection, as well as obsession with it. On the way to work he sees an ad for a place called Rekall. Instead of taking a vacation, they instead plant the memories of such vacation into her brain. What I love, is that all of these films about the future always have TVs everywhere, but they never stopped to think that in the future the TVs wouldn’t still be 10 feet wide, and weigh 57lbs. We’ve got a company that can implant memories into your brain, but in their lobby they’ve probably got a VCR that still has the remote control with the wire attached to it.
Well, he’s told by his wife and buddy at work not to go to these “brain butchers”, but he goes. He opts for the Mars trip package, and the extra feature of being a rockin’ spy. As he’s getting ready to get implanted, he all of a sudden goes ape shit. He starts screaming about how he’s an undercover agent, and they’re going to be here in a matter of minutes and kill them all. The guy who runs Rekall yells at the nurse for fucking up a simple implant, yet they say they haven’t even done the implant yet. This guy is the real deal. Well, they get him all doped up and send him away in a cab.
Once home, he’s accosted by his buddy from work and a few others because he blew his cover. After making short work of them, he heads home and of course, his wife tries to kill him. Leave to a woman to try and kill you when you’ve had a hell of a day. She gives him the scoop on what’s really been going on. He was a soldier for what’s known only as The Agency, and once he left, his mind was erased and all of his memories were put in. She was assigned to watch over and make sure that it all took, saying she’s only known Quaid for 6 weeks. Well, the bad guys show up, and he hits the bricks, trying to figure out what the hell is going on.
He gets a suitcase that contains all he needs. One of the items is a laptop sort of deal that has a video screen. Quaid hits play, and finds that he’s recorded a message to himself before the memory zap. He says that his real name is Houser, and if he’s watching this, the shit has hit the fan. He informs him that he’s gonna have to rip a tracking device out of his skull. Of course, probably in the same way I’d do to myself, he doesn’t mention the fact that the tracking device is the size of a fucking pool ball. It was massive! I mean, it’s the future, people living on Mars, space travel at the drop of a dime, and the tracking device has to be a basketball? If this would have been me, with my luck, I would have ended up with the tracking ball in my dick.
So, Quaid, as he seems to prefer, is off to Mars. Once there, he hooks up with a sleezy cab driver who never shuts up about his 5 kids. He finds a girl at a bar that appears to be the same girl from his dreams. She says they have a history, and of course she’s mad at him. Just like a women. This poor guy who was a bad-assed agent, get’s his memory erased, finds out his entire life is a lie, has his friends & wife trying to kill him, and this bitch is getting on him for not being around!? Gee, save the world or sit around listening to your story about how someone stole your turn at the 4-way stop? What should an intergalactic bad-ass spy do? Well, Quaid apparently has information that can take down his former employer, super-bad-guy to the stars, Cohaagen. His girl, Melina, doesn’t want anything to do with him now that she’s done yelling. Typical.
He heads back to the hotel, only to have his wife and her goons try and get the jump on him, only to have Melina save the day. She probably remembered something she had to yell at him about, so she came back. They flee the scene, and head back to the club so Quaid can meet Kuato, the telepathic mutant who’s leading the up-rising against Cohaagen & The Agency. They’re chased down by the surviving goons, but ended up getting away. Said goons are upset, and decide to have the oxygen shut off in the sector with all the poor folk. Well, Arnold meets Kuato, gets double crossed by his taxi-cab friend, and ends up being captured. We learn that when he was Houser, he was in fact a bad guy, and this was all a rouse to get inside the rebel’s base. Well, Quaid isn’t having this and tells Houser that it’s finders keepers. He stomps a bunch more ass, activates a giant alien artifact, and turns Mars’ atmosphere into a livable one. As only Arnold can do.
Man Movie Tally:
People Beat-Up: 10
People Killed: 62
Swear Words: 63
Slow-Motion Scenes: 4
Car Chase: 1
Chase on Foot: 2
Broken Bones: 1
Fight/Shoot-Out At Motel?: Yes
Guy Get Girl?: Yes
Guy Smoke?: No
Tony: [mutant with a messed up looking face] You’ve got a lot of nerve showing your face around here, Hauser.
Quaid: Look who’s talking.
Lori: ….after all, we’re married! [goes for gun, Quaid puts a bullet in her forehead]
Quaid: Consider that a divorce.
Quaid: [shoves a power-drill into the chest of Benny] Screw you!
Released by Sony/Columbia on June 1st, 1990 to 2,060 theaters. It earned $25,533,700 it’s first weekend, grabbing the number one spot. By the end of it’s 16 week run, it earned a world wide total of $261,317,921
This film was in developmental hell for 16 years. It was first optioned in 1974, and went through 40 different drafts of the script.
Based on Phillip K Dick’s short-story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”. Other films based on his work are Blade Runner, Minority Report, and more recently, The Adjustment Bureau.
Although Kuato was about as big as a loaf of bread, it took 15 puppeteers to control him.
C’mon Bennet, Let’s Party!:
Total Recall is a sci-fi masterpiece, combining the biggest movie star at the time, and a man who knew how to create a fantastic futuristic atmosphere that’s drenched in blood, Paul Verhoeven. It’s got an awesome psychological edge, with over the top violence and non-stop action. The organic effects help to remind people every damn time why it’s best to go with the real deal, and quit with that CGI bullshit. One of Arnold’s best, hands down.
4 & 3/4th Head-Butts out of 5