The mighty Arnold Schwarzenegger and director Paul Verhoven, king of everything not subtle, teamed up for this 1990 science fiction mind bender. Based on a short story by the late, great Phillip K. Dick called “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” the story revolves around a man who might be another man who goes to a place to have a memory implanted and they may have unlocked stuff that was supposed to be erased.
The great things here are Verhoven’s over the top style and Rob Bottin’s amazing effects. The story also holds up well. The not so great things are Arnold’s trademark grunts and one liners that just don’t stand the test of time.
I go to the movies a lot and have seen the trailer for the remake numerous times. Every time I see it all I can think is “that was a shot from the original, that was another one, and there’s a bad one liner coming from Kate Beckinsale instead of Arnold.” Watching the original now it seems there is very little they could do to top it. Sure Kate and Jessica Beil are hotter than Sharon Stone and Rachel Ticotin but that doesn’t make a good movie. Hell, Beil and Beckinsale have both appeared in Adam Sandler films. That didn’t make them good.
Verhoven has a very distinct style he has always incorporated in his science fiction films, namely over the top violence and humor. Recall has that. What it doesn’t have is the same kind of social commentary that was so prevalent in Robocop and Starship Troopers. As much as I love Total Recall I actually love the other two more for that reason.
Despite the grunts and bad one liners Arnold Schwarzenegger is a lot of fun to watch in this film. The beautiful thing about having him in this movie is his presence. That man, despite his poor grasp of the English language and his bad acting, can make you want to watch him.
This movie gets 4 out of 5 stars from me. I would be surprised if the remake gets such a high mark from me.