Monday, June 20, 2011

Five Reasons Why Total Recall is Awesome.

Before Arnold Schwarzenegger was proven to be an asshole larger than his governing state, he was busy making sweet love to audiences in the form of all kinds of awesome ass-kicking. First on that list, as far as I'm concerned, is Total Recall. When was the last time you watched that movie? If it's been more than a few years, I'd say it's time to dust it off and re-live Arnold's glory days.

The movie was in development hell for a while, and it looked like it wasn't going to get made. Then, like a knight with shining pecs and a great "I'm in pain" face, Conan himself basically financed the endeavor. He made it a god damned priority to get it done, and get it done right. That's how Conan works; driving enemies before you and what not. Anyways, what followed became one of the greatest sci-fi action movies of all time. You don't believe me? That's why lists are handy. I have for you five reasons why Total Recall is awesome. Enjoy.

1) Atmosphere

What is a good sci-fi film without atmosphere? Verhoeven's concept of Mars and the technology of the times oozed the stuff. Take, for instance, some of the sweeping shots of the exterior of the planet:

Bonus shot of a cool-looking human transport vehicle.

Total Recall was one of the last films to use composite shots, which means everything you see here was physically shot with a camera. No CGI.

Other parts of the film used effects shots indoors, and they gave off a different kind of atmosphere than the landscape shots were capable of:

 Ethan Hunt might balk at the disguise, but I'm still pretty fucking impressed. He could have programmed a few more words, though. "Two weeks" was it? Really?

There were two CGI shots of the x-ray machine, which were the only CGI used in the entire film. This is one of the shots.

2) Bloody, shitty violence

I don't think I'm a fan of torture porn any more, but when it comes to ridiculously violent action movies, it doesn't get any better than Paul Verhoeven. Seriously:

 Quaid 8; doctors/henchmen a big, fat 0. The last guy gets negative points, and may God have mercy on his faceless soul.

 Yes, that's correct. This scene features a girl with three tits getting shot in the back, and a midget stabbing a man in the crotch with a Bowie knife. Life on Mars is tough.

Spoilers about movies from 1990 aren't spoilers anymore. You and Richter are both late to the party. At least you're still alive and have arms. Presumably.

3) Kuato

The leader of any kind of resistance force is usually a guy in a bandana with a fully-open-yet-should-be-totally-buttoned shirt (with white tee or wife beater underneath). Fuck that; meet Kuato:

Kuato probably lives off of unprocessed fecal matter. That's just a guess.

4) A great villain

There are plenty of movies that chince on the bad guy. Total Recall is a rare example of a movie that makes a non-physical character the perfect antithesis of an uber-physical hero:

He doesn't eat up a lot of screen time, but when he's there, Ronny Cox guessed it, awesome.

This is how a true movie villain soul-searches.

5) Michael Ironside's complete lack of comprehension

Literally every time there is a dome or piece of glass that could be blown open to reveal a complete vacuum, Michael Ironside is there, happily shooting high velocity projectiles at it. I would have taken half of what Cohaagen was paying him and been twice as productive:

If Richter had been the final fight in Enter the Dragon, it wouldn't have been so tense.

"Aerobic respiration is a preferred human characteristic, sir." As in, he's a fucking moron.

So, there you have it; five reasons why Total Recall is awesome. If you disagree, I'd welcome the challenge, but you're going to have a hell of a time proving your case. To further showcase this film's awesomeness, I'll leave you with the greatest teaser trailer since ever:

If you can, try to notice the giant, creepy Arnold face that stares at you as it rotates in space. Then try to not want to watch this movie.


  1. You went into more work to prove your point than was required. Changing the title of your post to simply "Total Recall is Awesome" you wouldn't have had to write anything else. You'd have been done in less than one minute with the added bonus of being home in time for Corn Flakes:)

    See you at the part Markus!

  2. @Marc. I must admit that all hard work presented in this post goes to my partner in crime Sir Phobos. He'll have a beer with you at the party.

  3. Getting back in time for Corn Flakes was a pipe dream!