Since the highly anticipated remake of Total Recall will be released in less than a month and I haven't yet seen the original I decided that it would be best if I saw the original first before I see the remake.
Total Recall is set in the very distant, if at all achievable, future and follows the story of a man named Douglas Quaid who is played by Arnold Schwarzennegger. In this setting you can live on and vacation at other planets in the solar system and Douglas has a dream of going to Mars. His wife (Sharon Stone) however doesn't want to go to Mars so Douglas is stuck on Earth. One day he hears about the Rekall program that implants memories into your brain of anything you want. So he goes to Rekall and asks to get the memories of him going to Mars implanted into him so he can feel like he has actually been there. Also he options to give himself the memories of him being a secret agent when he goes to Mars.
I don't want to spoil much more so for the rest of the summary I will say that when he wakes up from Rekall a series of events actually forces him to go to Mars. Or does he?
After watching this movie I have to say that I am now pretty excited for the remake to come out. I just hope that they do this movie justice and make it feel unique and not like some generic sci-fi action movie that happens a lot now a days.
The strongest thing about this movie is just the story itself. Total Recall was originally written by Phillip K. Dick who has written many other great sci-fi stories that have been adapted into stories like Minority Report and Blade Runner. So I already knew the story itself would be awesome and I was not wrong. It's futuristic and cool like any other sci-fi story but the best thing about this one in particular is the mystery that drives the movie.
Most of the movie Douglas questions reality and everyone around him, including himself. While watching this movie you have the same questions Douglas has. Through the whole movie you are thinking to yourself "is this actually going on or is Douglas in Rekall mode" or "is that person or good guy or a double agent". I applaud this movie for bring the mystery to viewer and not just the main character.
However this great story would mean nothing if it wasn't executed and directed properly. So the studio making this movie got the perfect guy for the job to direct this film and that is Paul Verhoeven. Back in the 90s, when this movie came out, he was one of the best sci-fi movie directors in the business. He's created classics like Starship Troopers and RoboCop and did this unique story great justice by directing this movie very well and making it memorable.
So what will you most likely get in you add one of the greatest sci-fi writers and one of the greatest sci-fi movie directors is a pretty good and awesome movie. You can't deny the math.
Since Total Recall is a sci-fi movie you already know the acting isn't going to be that great. Arnold Schwarzennegger was... Arnold Schwarzennegger. His acting is neither great nor awful. It's just tolerable and at moments is faintly likeable as well.
I was willing to forgive that fact that his acting isn't anything special because for once his character wasn't some rough and tough over the top guy. In this movie his character is just a normal dude which makes the character more relatable and likeable.
Plus sci-fi movies typically have not great and cheesy dialogue and this movie had just that... but not 100% of the time. Like the main villain, who I will not name due to spoilers, says something in his monologue like "I'm going to blow this rig up and be home in time for corn flakes". I laughed at the sheer stupidity of the comment during the movie. Things like that were said often throughout the movie.
The acting and most of the dialogue are the only nit-picks that I have, other than that everything was really good. The story was unique and fun, the direction was great and although I didn't mention this, the visuals were good for its time as well.
So was Total Recall just another generic sci-fi action movie? Heck no! It was a satisfyingly good sci-fi movie and I really enjoyed. Am I now really excited to see the remake? You bet I am. Total Recall deserves a B+.