It's hard to believe that it was 30 years last week since the release of one of the best sci-fi action thrillers of the 90's, TOTAL RECALL.
Dutch director Paul Verhoeven was hot off of "Robocop" when he decided on this adaption of a Philip K. Dick's (who also wrote Blade Runner) short story.
Schwarzenegger was blazing hot as well, coming off of "Terminator", "Predator" and "Twins". They're a perfect match, with Arnold more than capable of the full-bore, loud, violent and humor tinged Verhoeven style.
Schwarzenegger is Quaid, a bored everyman who looks for adventure from Rekall, a company that will implant vivid memories of a fantastic vacation or adventure to liven up your boredom.
He chooses an adventure as a secret agent, but something goes wrong and suddenly everyone is out to kill him.
Are they? Or is this a failed implant of the memory he requested? Half the fun, and there is a LOT of fun from start to finish, is uncovering the truth alongside Quaid.
A great supporting cast kills it. Sharon Stone (who would star next in Verhoeven's smash hit "Basic Instinct") is Quaid's lethal wife. Mel Johnson Jr is hilarious as Benny the cab driver ("I've got five kids to feed!"), Ronny Cox plays against type as the evil corporate villain Cohaagen, Rachel Tictotin (Falling Down) is a kick ass Mars rebel from Quaid's past and Michael Ironside (Starship Troopers) is a ruthless henchman with a hair trigger temper.
The 1990 special effects are still cool, definitely pre-CGI but visually arresting in depicting Mars and all its wild inhabitants. It was one of the last major studio films to use miniature and matte effects. along with a lot of huge sets in Mexico City's studios.
The cantina in Star Wars has nothing on these joints. It's all very violent, loaded with R rated gore, sex and nudity that Verhoeven splashed across all his box office hits of the era.
It's never subtle, but its a hell of a good time.
Arnold's disguise as a lady at Mars customs, Benny and Quaid's hilarious dialogue, Stone and Ticotin's brutal fist fight and the huge scale finale are all about as good as sci-fi action thrillers get.
30 years after its release, TOTAL RECALL still holds up as a fast-paced, enjoyable thriller, driven by one of Jerry Goldsmith's best, big orchestra action scores.
It's still one of my favorite Schwarzenegger films. The guy is a beast, and so is RECALL, still an A after three decades.
Followed by a 2012 lesser remake, that's still a decent film, but pales compared to the original.