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Total Recall at 30: a thrilling reminder of Paul Verhoeven at his best

Total Recall at 30: a thrilling reminder of Paul Verhoeven at his best thumbnail

The 1990 adaptation of a Philip K Dick short story slickly combined biting satire with a deliriously entertaining Arnold Schwarzenegger action thriller

Total Recall is a movie about a totalitarian government that’s colonized another planet so it can charge ordinary people to breathe. There would be no conflict in the film without it: no serpentine Philip K Dick plot about a construction worker whose dreams of being a secret agent on Mars are rooted in real memories. No skirmishes between the authorities and the pocket of mutants, deviants and ne’er-do-wells who rebel against them from Martian red-light district of Venusville. And certainly none of the scrotum kicks, impalings or gruesome fusillades of machine-gun fire that audiences had come to expect from an Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie. 

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