Total Recall [1990]

This science fiction blockbuster from 1990 began its production life as a very different movie than the one that was released. An adaptation of the Philip K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale," Total Recall was originally conceived of with Richard Dreyfuss starring as a Walter Mitty-like character who experiences a variety of artificially induced fantasies. The movie we know is a mega-budget action epic set on Mars. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a normal working man who discovers that his entire reality has been invented to conceal a plot of planetary domination. Oscar-winning special effects and violent action propel the twisting plot, in which Arnold manipulates his manipulators in a world of dazzling high technology. Director Paul Verhoeven (Robocop) indulges his usual penchant for gratuitous bloodshed, but the movie has enough cleverness to rise above its excesses. --Jeff Shannon

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