Sci-Fi Movie Review: Total Recall (1990)

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For quite a few years now I have been telling myself that I have to watch Total Recall. It has always looked like such a neat concept and I do enjoy a good SciFi movie. But years passed and I still hadn’t watched it. Then the reboot was announced a few years back, and I decided that now I really needed to watch the original, before the new movie came out.

But I still didn’t watch it.

Then the new movie came out, and I still hadn’t seen the original. Finally, SciFi month rolled around for the third time, and I said “Damn it, I am watching the original one no matter what.” So the other night I sat down and go to doing just that.

And you know what, I really enjoyed it. Sure it had the crappy early nineties special effects, but hey for a movie that is twenty five years old, I’d have to say it looks pretty good.

The whole idea of having memories implanted so you could vacation without really vacationing, and be someone else at that time, was really interesting. Just how the heck did someone come up with that in the first place? Also would be curious to know how many people died when this process first began because something went horribly wrong.

That brings us to the main character, Douglas Quaid, and the overall story of the movie. While the movie started off a bit slow, I found that one he went to get memories implanted that things picked up. There was certainly a lot more action at this point, and also gun, lots and lots of guns. Apparently in the future, on both Earth and Mars, everyone has a machine gun at their disposal. Also, everyone is a terrible shot because 99% of the bullets fired hit no one.

There were times where I wondered if what I was watching was the implanted memory that Douglas got at recall, a dream or the real thing. In fact, I had to laugh (and agree) with Douglas when he mentioned how much of a “mind fuck” the whole thing was to Cohaggen part way through the movie. It was at that point I wondered just how much of this was real. But I didn’t dwell on that too much, because I was enjoying the movie and things were really picking up at that point.

Now, there were a few parts in this film that made me shake my head.

The first one being, near the end, when the air supply had been shut down in Venusville. It is mentioned that the air is at that point where everyone will die soon, but then the next thing you know, when the machine is activated by Douglas, everyone pops up like nothing bad has been happening, that they haven’t been deprived of air for who knows how long and were on the verge of dying. This was before the wave of air came crashing through the windows to ultimately save them.

Secondly, it took forever for Cohaagen to die once he was exposed to Mars’ atmosphere. It should have only taken a couple of seconds. On that note, when Douglas and Melina were also jettisoned out into that same unforgiving and deadly atmosphere, they laid there struggling to breath, their eyes bulging, and once again, were taking too long to die. In fact, by the time the fresh, clean breathable air finally hit them, they should have been long dead. But not only did they somehow survive that whole time, but the air somehow restored their bodies to perfect condition once more. I call shenanigans on that! I doubt after being exposed like that for so long everything would return to normal and the world would be happy and perfect once again. No, just no.

Outside of these grips, I have to say I really enjoyed this movie. It had a lot of action, tons of ridiculous gunfights that made me feel like I was watching storm troopers from Star Wars shoot at things – cause so few people got shot at times, mediocre special effects, an interesting story line and a good pace to it. I think everyone who enjoys SciFi should watch this movie, and if you’ve seen it already then go watch it again. Hopefully, befor the month is over I will get a chance to watch the new movie and see how it compares to the original. Either way, I’m happy to have finally watched this movie.

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4 thoughts on “Sci-Fi Movie Review: Total Recall (1990)

  1. Okay, I stopped reading the review when you got more detailed as I STILL haven’t read this and didn’t want spoilers! But you have reminded me that it’s something I need to do, especially as it’s based on a Philip K. Dick novel. Another goal for this month, maybe 😉

  2. Awesome review! I have a soft spot for this movie, yeah it’s silly at times but I enjoy the zaniness of it. And every once in a while I just feel like saying “get your ass to Mars” for no apparent reason. LOL.

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