I never saw Total Recall. The 1990 film starring Schwarzenegger. It’s odd, I had seen nearly every Schwartzy action or comedy movie of the 80s and 90s. Something turned me off about it and it became a self-perpetuating thing.
Watching it finally, it is a not terrible popcorn flick of late-80s feel. It had been outrageously expensive at the time, but like all movies of that era, there were scenes where you could see the plywood. What today would take 30 seconds in post production to fix, they figured no one would ever notice.
They also had terrible wardrobes. Clothes are expensive. Which is why all the future movies have everyone wearing some leotard things, not a lot of extras, or wearing pretty similar clothes to modern day. Even BladeRunner had Sean Young in those poofy 1980s shoulder pads with everyone else looking like regular people.
Michael Ironside plays the EXACT same character he did in the V tv series. Which was 5 years earlier. A leather jacket machine pistol mean guy.
This is him in V:
This is him in Total Recall:
Ronny Cox played the EXACT same character he did in Robocop. Which was also directed by Verhoeven. The bad, smarmy CEO jerk.
You could see the various hands of the development process. It was held by Dino De Laurentiis for a long while. He was one of those old school producers. Back when I was trying to write screenplays, I somehow or other got one to his company. And basically any studio or production company will trash it and say they didn’t read it, so they won’t get sued. But I remember I got a very nice letter from them “signed” by him. And I thought about that for a while. I was like, it took a lot of time and money I’m sure to deal with the mob of writers like me. But it was still an old world courtesy and…you never know who might be submitting or who you might offend, so may as well be nice.
You could also see aspects of Cronenberg, who had attempted it and eventually parted. All those mutants that look like sexual organs…
Watching the film took me back to that very different era. And Hank is at least partially inspired by that type of action movie. Schwarzenegger was always doing some goofy take or grimace or getting kicked in the nards. And a lot of actors of that time couldn’t or wouldn’t do that. They needed to be larger than life superstars.