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Total Recall

Paul Verhoevan (RoboCop, Showgirls) directs Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall. Arnie is Douglas Quaid, a regular guy from the future who dreams about going to Mars. Rather than taking an actual, physical vacation, Quaid opts to visit Rekall, where he can have an artificial memory planted directly into his brain that recreates a visit to Mars. He decides to upgrade his Rekall package for the secret agent package, and than the movie jumps into the main story and you aren’t sure if Quaid is dreaming or awake.

Douglas Quaid is a lowly construction worker who is married to Sharon Stone. Somehow he is not satisfied with his life and longs for more adventure. He is haunted by images of Mars and decides to take a virtual vacation to the Red Planet, despite the reservations of his wife (Sharon Stone) and co-worker/friend. Quaid goes to Rekall anyway and when they try to implant his artificial memories, they discover that he has already had his mind erased once and they decide to get rid of him to avoid any trouble.

Quaid stumbles into a plot that he can’t comprehend. His wife, his friends, people that he thought he could trust all turn on him and try to kill him. Quaid finds himself in the midst of an epic battle to control civilian life on Mars. His main foe is Richter (Michael Ironside) who works for the enigmatic Cohaagen (Ronnie Cox). Quaid makes his way to Mars where he meets an old ally/lover that he can’t quite remember named Melina (Rachel Ticotin).

Quaid meets a few characters on Mars, like the cab driver Benny and the mutant Kuato, and the three-titted lady who might not have a name, but needs no introduction.

I don’t want to spoil the movie, but everything that they say will happen in the movie happens in the movie. The movie spoils itself, they say what will happen, and it happens. You just have to experience how it happens.

They are making a remake of this movie. I have no idea why. Don’t mess with the classics. This movie was based on a short story, but I don’t care how loyal it is to the original concept. Total Recall is a Schwarzenegger movie. He can’t act and it doesn’t matter. There is no escape from that fact.

This movie was Inception before there was an Inception. It’s all about dreaming versus reality with lots of unnecessary action. Leo might be slightly more nuanced in his performance, but there are definite parallels between the two movies. Inception has a better script, a better story, and better actors… other than then that, they are kinda similar.

This is an action movie with some sci-fi elements thrown in to make Arnie seem more diverse. This is right around the cusp between traditional special effects and CG effects. It’s not as seamless as Terminator 2, but it’s a step in the right direction. Only a few effects are so bad that the draw your attention from the story, a rarity in those days.

They way that the movie ends, you aren’t sure is Quaid was experiencing everything or dreaming everything. It really doesn’t matter. You don’t know and you don’t care. There’s enough evidence to point to either outcome and there is no right answer.

There are some great moments in this flick. There are some iconic moments in this flick. It is just a mediocre action movie that is not Verhoeven’s best nor Schwarzenegger’s best. It’s not bad, it just is. And what it is what it is. There’s no reason for a Colin Farrell remake.

Critically Rated at 11/17

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The Quick and the Dead

Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, Evil Dead) directs Sharon Stone as The Lady, a deadly female gunslinger The Quick and the Dead. Sharon Stone enters a quick draw dueling competition in a small town run by Gene Hackman. Raimi directs an all-star cast and using every single cowboy movie cliché imaginable to create an original and entertaining period piece.

The Quick and the Dead pays homage to the early cinematic westerns that AMC used to show before they became a real TV network. They have the saloon and an evil sheriff and a hired gun and a reformed criminal and a trick shot expert and a clock tower and honor and redemption and revenge. But they also have a pretty diverse competition. There is an Indian, a black guy, a woman, a Swedish guy… pretty much anyone can enter if they want. And that’s nice and democratic.

There are a lot of stars in this movie. Some of them were still up-and-comers at the time, but some were established. Sharon Stone is the main character and Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Gary Sinise all play supporting roles. There are also a lot of character actors that you will recognize from a bunch of different movies.

It’s not the best western, but it doesn’t try to be. It is more of an homage to cowboy flicks than an attempt to be serious. It is very stylized, and there are a lot of elaborate sequences that are very distinctive of Raimi. You can recognize his style a mile away. It’s a B movie with a budget. It has heart. Being made with love makes it better than it is.

Critically Rated at 11/17

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