Rating: The Good – 74.2 Genre: Science Fiction Duration: 103 mins Director: David Cronnenberg Screenplay: David Cronnenberg Stars: Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan, Jennifer O’Neill
A terrific horror written and directed by David Cronnenberg who strikes just the right balance between mainstream and skewed story telling. This is a film accessible enough to engage everyone but inaccessible enough to leave them slightly uncomfortable. It tells the story of a telepathically gifted group of humans (scanners) in North America who are caught between a defence contractor who wants to use them in its weapons programme and a more sinister force led by the always great Michael Ironside. The film does come across slightly dated by now though the special effects seem all the creepier because of it (check out those grotesque pulsating veins). Stephen Lack is completely wooden and a little laughable in the lead role. However, all shortcomings on the acting front are made up for by Patrick McGoohan as the scientist studying the scanners and in particular Ironside who devours the scenery as one of the great sci-fi villains, Darryl Revok.
Rating: The Good – 75.9 Genre: Science Fiction Duration: 113 mins Director: Paul Verhoeven Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside
Paul Verhoeven’s worthy adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s futuristic short story was a landmark in special effects on its release but like all great sci-fi, it’s the intelligent story and cracking characters that make it so good. Arnold Schwarzenegger headlines as Douglas Quaid, a man who recurrently dreams of life on Mars only to discover that he’s been there before and has had his memories of it and that previous life erased. When that discovery makes him a target for nasty men with guns and attitude, Doug hightails it to Mars to unravel the mystery. Along with his role of Dutch in Predator, Quaid was the role that showed Arnie was more than just brawn on screen. There’s much humour in his performance and not only is it in sync with the general vibe of the film, it’s well timed and infused with more than a touch of personality – something that couldn’t always have been said about his comedy attempts. Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, and best of all Michael Ironside play the particularly dastardly bad guys and between them and Schwarzenegger the classic one-liners come thick and fast. Verhoeven’s mark is all over Total Recall which is no bad thing as his colourful and mischievous style nicely complements the pulp background from which the story hails.
Rating: The Good – 73.5 Genre: Science Fiction, Action Duration: 129 mins Director: Paul Verhoeven Stars: Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer
Paul Verhoeven’s surprise hit is worth every bit of the hype that surrounded it on and since its release. It tells the comic-book story of an Earth of the future that is at war with giant alien bugs which inhabit far reaching planets human kind has attempted to settle on. Starship Troopers is full of hugely impressive ground and space battles and the special effects are startlingly good even to this day. The cast does uniformly well in engendering the story with a carefree sense of fun and Basil Poledouris’ score is suitably rousing to the occasion. Verhoeven and writer Edward Neumeier clearly decided to make a point with this one and as the film progresses the volume is slowly turned up on a delicious commentary regarding colonialism and propaganda. The film is all the richer for it as it not only gives the proceedings much greater weight but makes the whole damn thing seriously funny to boot.