Total Recall (1990)

total_recall_xlgStarring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell, Mel Johnson Jr., Michael Champion, Roy Brocksmith, Ray Baker, Dean Norris, Debbie Lee Carrington

Directed by Paul Verhoeven

Expectations: I expect to get my ass to Mars.

fourstar


Total Recall is possibly the greatest movie ever made. It doesn’t have a single slow moment; its pace is relentless and unforgiving. The special FX work throughout still looks amazing, seamlessly bringing the near-future world and the surface of Mars to brilliant life. Director Paul Verhoeven, hot off of the equally incredible RoboCop, squeezes every last ounce of entertainment and excitement out of every shot in Total Recall.

The script might be the film’s greatest aspect, though. Total Recall is based on a Philip K. Dick story called We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, but the film isn’t all that much like the story. Usually I’d complain about this kind of thing, but in the case of Total Recall the screenplay takes the ideas from the short story and creates a thrill ride for the ages. Most importantly, it doesn’t just use the ideas, but also the overarching themes that run through so much of Dick’s work. Dick’s major theme — the nature of reality and what is truly real — is in full effect in Total Recall. The lines between reality and dream are constantly blurred, and even at the end of the film this question is never answered, just as Dick ends many of this novels.

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Kull the Conqueror (1997)

kulltheconqueror_1Starring Kevin Sorbo, Tia Carrere, Thomas Ian Griffith, Litefoot, Roy Brocksmith, Harvey Fierstein, Karina Lombard, Edward Tudor-Pole, Douglas Henshall, Joe Shaw, Sven-Ole Thorsen

Directed by John Nicolella

Expectations: Pretty low.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


I may be one of the few to ever say this, but I loved Kull the Conqueror. Perhaps thanks in part to my incredibly muted expectations, I found Kull the Conqueror to be relentlessly fun. Around every corner was something to excite and entertain, both in ways expected and unexpected. I can’t go so far as to call it a good movie, though, it’s definitely in the B-Movie camp and those inclined to scoff at these kinds of films will definitely scoff throughout Kull the Conqueror. But the movie is clearly designed to be a load of fun instead of being something hyper realistic, so when taken as such it gets the job done exceptionally well.

Our story begins in a dimly lit camp where Kull (Kevin Sorbo) is battling some dudes. We’re led to believe he’s fighting for his life, but this quickly proves to be untrue. In fact, Kull is getting jumped into the King’s elite guard, but after facing the King’s general in one-on-one sword combat, Kull is refused entry because he is not of noble birth. Meanwhile, the king is going crazy and slaughtering his children, so everyone heads over there and through some unexpected turns of fate, Kull ends up with the king’s crown and title. Say what?

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