Sci-Fi Action Movie Double Feature with Cyborg and Total Recall

Illustration for article titled Sci-Fi Action Movie Double Feature with iCyborg/i and iTotal Recall/i

It's a wonderful Sunday evening for some science fiction, don't you think? Luckily, Netflix has just reintroduced into the streaming wild two titles worthy of your attention: Cyborg and Total Recall.

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I am an absolute sucker for action films, but I only really like them if it's completely unforgiving, 24/7, non-stop action. The best action movies have moments where they bathe in the ridiculousness of what's happening on screen, and it makes watching them that much more fun. It's part of the reason why I have such an unreasonable affection for mega-action flicks like The Expendables (yes, all of them.) They're just fun, and these two titles fit that category.

Total Recall is just simply amazing. Going on 24 years old now, the original Arnold Schwarzenegger flick is an excellent retelling of the Philip K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale." Douglas Quaid is a construction worker who dreams of traveling to Mars. When a mishap at his local Rekall facility unlocks forgotten memories, Quaid must fight his way to Mars and somehow save the day. Despite being your typical action film, it's definitely one of the best as it's able to even slip in a brain-melting conclusion that leaves you questioning the entire film.

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Cyborg has fewer accolades to celebrate. In fact, the film is widely accepted as one of Jean-Claude Van Damme's worst. But as you somehow secretly love movies even if they're terrible, Cyborg's off-putting acting and knee jerk pacing doesn't completely destroy that campy sci-fi romp that is at its soul. Even io9 couldn't bear to include it in their list of terrible cyborg films. (I mean, the sequels sure, but not the original.)

Van Damme, who plays the mercenary Gibson Rickenbacker, must fight Fender Tremelo, a brutish thug determined to secure the cure to the plague that has ravaged the world and keep it in his steely grasp. I'm not exactly sure why everyone is named after guitars, and to be honest, that's just one of many things that doesn't make sense, but I love this movie all the same. Yes, this film was completely written in a weekend, yes, the music is terrible, and yes, it was made for less than 500,000 in 23 days, but it's a comfort film I could watch again and again. [Netflix]

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DISCUSSION

I just re-watched Total Recall last night and it's actually pretty remarkable how well it holds up. It doesn't go too overboard with goofy "future" clothes like a lot of films from that time did, so other than some of the hairstyles (Sharon Stone), it still feels pretty contemporary. Many of the effects even still look really well done. There was a composite shot of Arnold in a train, the camera pulls back to a massive model set and I was impressed by how well done it was and how good it still looked.

And the story is just ridiculously fun. SOOO much better than the joyless remake.