Total Recall (1990)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Total Recall</strong> (1990)

(Third viewing, On DVD, January 2009) I hadn’t seen this film in a while, and so was pleasantly surprised to find that it had appreciated in the meantime. Oh, sure, it’s easy to bash the film’s lousy physics, too-gory violence and often-convenient plotting. But there’s a lot to admire in the twists and turns of the generally strong plot, with the multiple layers of questions regarding the events’ reality. (I recall being quietly horrified, in the early nineties, upon learning of the “it was all a dream” interpretation. Now it’s one of my favorite things about the entire film.) SF-wise, it may still be pretty basic stuff, but it’s better than most of what we’ve seen on the big screen for the past few years. Even the special effects generally hold up to scrutiny, which is remarkable for one of the last big analog effects movie before digital compositing and CGI animation. Schwarzenegger is great in the lead role, Rachel Ticotin is cute and even Sharon Stone is remarkable in a pre-Basic Instinct turn that suggests a different career path for her. The DVD “special edition” has an entertaining 2001 commentary track with director Verhoeven and Schwarzenegger, plus a smattering of documentary features that are starting to show their ages, DVD-wise.

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