Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

Off the Shelf…'Total Recall'

Looking at some of the blog statistics for Go,See,Talk, I’ve noticed that this post has gotten some recent attention. While a Schwarzenegger film is never far from my thoughts (because he’s done so many great ones) I realize that I hadn’t seen this one in a while decided and I needed to revisit it. Thinking back on Total Recall, having first seen it when I was 12, it was the greatest and most outrageous action flick I had ever seen at the time. Having grown up with the likes of Predator, Aliens and other big action films that were full of explosions, fantastic creatures and wild plots, this was the first “over-the-top” action flick that I remember being able to comprehend the storyline beyond more than gun-fire and running.

The Paul Verhoeven helmed Total Recall was and still is just balls out action, crazy violence, and one hell of a ride/mind trip. To this day I can’t figure out if the story is real or a dream, but I guess that’s the beauty of the film and how it still stands up (mostly) after nearly 20 years. My personal stance on the movie is that is is a dream, but some looks the characters give throughout (and examples I’m not going to go into) still keep me second-guessing myself. The film’s screenplay was inspired and adapted from the Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” which was a slim 43 pages and didn’t actually call for a Conan-type lead. Arnold’s inclusion was something that happened way later in the this film’s development. Overall it was a process which took an astonishing 10 years and 7 directors to even see the light of day. It had it’s share of ups and downs, big names (including Patrick Swayze at one time) but in the end showed us that if something is worth making it will take time to make it right.

The unparalleled amounts of violence and what I considered very innovative ways to “off” someone, Total Recall was the most wildly imaginative and hands down “coolest” sci-fi film for a 12 year old to see.  Sure Star Wars was exciting and a feast for the eyes, but the action quotient in Arnold’s film got more points in my book and thoroughly won me over. As Doug Quaid’s “Seceret Agent” Ego Trip played out, he came to realize that he was a virtually sleek, unflinching and efficient killing machine. To this day I still can’t believe how many people he goes through in one setting and plays it off like it is no big deal (well after he trumps Harry and his thugs anyway). The scene near the end where he just levels all the lab technicians each in a different way it still amazing to watch. It’s just one after another after another – Verhoeven and his vision, burned in my head for the rest of my life…and I got no problem with that!

I guess I can say a lot for the trust/responsibility of my parents for letting me see this movie so young, but because of that, they (with a number of other movies I enjoyed far before my time) made me a movie lover for life. After getting Recall on VHS for Christmas in the 5th grade,  I really can’t being to tell you how cool it was to have seen an ‘R-rated’ movie of that magnitude at the age of 12 and talking about is at school with my friends. Of course that film seems a little cheesy now, but it is still so much fun to watch. Arnold’s one liners were in top form, the body count was super high up and thanks to Verhoeven the action bar was set way way up. To me it more than set the standard for what to expect in action as well as established how much I would be enthralled with a love of movies for years to come.

G-S-T Ruling – 4/5

G-S-T Seal of Approval – GRANTED


  • Heather

    You wanna have some…………………fun?

    GREAT movie, that while has an almost dated look, is still just as bad ass as when released. Great villains, smart story(YES!!!!), and great Arnie.

    And as you said some hellaciously innovative violence.

    Glad to see you show some love for it.

    Hey man, I got 5 kids to feed!

    • Marc

      Wow Heater, calling out the great lines I see:) The film may feel a little tired but it is fun, action packed and one of Ah-nuld’s best.
      I can’t wait to go on vacation and tell the customs agent that I’ll be staying for “Twoooooo Weeeeeeks”:)

    • Marc

      Thanks for stopping by Dan! This is one movie that, nostalgia or not, I think still holds up to this day. Ah-nuld, bullets, one-liners…this time in space. How can you lose?!?:)

  • Aiden R

    Holy FUCK is this a good movie. Verhoeven is so underappreciated.


    Been meaning to see this again for a while now, so thanks for the solid review, just got bumped up on the queue. Or I might just buy it. Yeah, that’s probably the appropriate action to take.

    • Marc

      Of all the liners in that movie, that one’s the best combination “one-liner/bad guy send off”…probably in the history of film I think.
      Wow, you don’t own this? Surprising but not a punishable offense. It just means it’ll be all the more special when you plunk down your hard eared money to get your own personal copy:)