I started off my [Martian Movie Marathon](/2003/08/27/martian-movie-marathon/) by watching Total Recall, mostly because I’ve seen it two or three times and it looked like a relaxing way to get going. It’s also the least “cool” of the movies I borrowed for the weekend because it’s pretty weak as a Martian Movie. Sure, most of it is set on Mars, but that’s all it is: A stage. There are no Martians, no flying saucers, nothing. At least it’s got alien artefacts.
Not that this means it’s a bad movie. It starts off simple enough, but builds up quickly to become a typical Arnold movie. Schwarzenegger gets to kill bad guys left and right and because this is the uncut version, gratuitous scenes of blood and gore can be enjoyed by the entire family while munching popcorn. I thought i had seen the uncut version before, but maybe I was wrong. Some pretty nasty scenes in there – For example when Arnold has Michael Ironside’s cut-off arms in his hand; or near the beginning when Ironside steps on the chest of a dead henchman, complete with squishy sound.
What distinguishes Total Recall from pretty much all Arnold movies is that it actually has a bit of an intelligent premise / back-story. By this I mean the entire mind-games theory. We can never be sure whether what is happening to Arnold is real, or whether it is, after-all, only his imagination. Evidence does point to the story portraying the reality; I assume that making the story truly ambiguous was a big “no no”. It probably was seen as being detrimental to what Arnold fans usually enjoy: Brawn over brains.
The acting is decent – except for Arnold, who comes across as pretty wooden. Then again, when did Arnold ever get hired for actual acting? I especially enjoyed Michael Ironside, but then he’s always a favourite of mine. The set is convincing, the special effects are all right – they were probably top-notch when the movie came out, but are of course dated now. I did not like the mutants – I thought they distracted from the story; and the make-up is cheesy anyway.
The DVD – German edition, RC 2 – has German, English and Spanish sound tracks as well as some meagre extras: A trailer, a teaser, and a short “Making Of”. Nothing special to see there, move along. The quality is okay, overall, though I did not really like the menu design. Still, it’s an okay DVD.
Overall, Total Recall is still one of the better Action-Science Fiction movies. The story, based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, is an added bonus. If you like Science Fiction and Arnold Action, then you can’t really go wrong with Total Recall.