Total Recall

Construction worker Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has been having recurring dreams of a brunette woman named Melina (Rachel Ticotin), and of Mars, which has been colonized. He tells his blonde wife Lori (Sharon Stone) about the dreams, and that he wants to move to Mars, but Lori refuses because she hates Mars. Meanwhile, Mars administrator Vilos Cohaagen (Ronny Cox) has been ruling Mars like a dictator, and the Mars Freedom Brigade, a group of rebels led by the mysterious Kuato, are fighting to end Cohaagen's evil leadership. Quaid visits Rekall Inc, a travel agency which implants memories of vacations in the minds of its customers. Quaid requests a trip to Mars, in which he will be a secret agent. During his implant procedure however, the Rekall technicians pop Quaid's memory cap (before they can implant his ego trip), and he violently lashes out, as if he really is a Mars secret agent. The technicians sedate Quaid and dump him in a Johnnycab which takes him to his apartment building.

He is suddenly attacked by armed men led by his coworker Harry (Robert Costanzo), who had earlier warned him not to go to Rekall. Quaid kills Harry and his henchmen and runs home. He tells a disbelieving Lori about it and goes to wash the blood off his hands. Lori tries to kill him afterwards, but he overpowers her, holding her at gunpoint and demanding answers. Lori is not Quaid's wife, but an agent sent by Cohaagen to watch Quaid after they erased his memory and implanted a new one. Quaid knocks Lori unconscious with the gun after seeing more villains on the video monitor. The chief villain is the evil Richter (Michael Ironside), Lori's real husband. Richter's right hand man is the equally vicious agent Helm (Michael Champion). After an escalator gun battle in the subway, Quaid escapes to a hotel and receives a suitcase from an old ally. Quaid escapes Richter and Helm again. Richter and Helm are trying to kill Quaid before he can remember his life on Mars, despite Cohaagen's orders to capture Quaid alive.

At an abandoned factory, Quaid opens the case and sees a video recording of Hauser, his former identity. Hauser tells Quaid to go to Mars, find Melina, and stop Cohaagen. Richter and Helm follow Quaid to the Mars spaceport, but he escapes again after Richter shoots a hole in the dome, forcing everyone to grab hold of something to avoid being sucked outside onto the airless surface. Eventually, Quaid meets a Martian mutant cab driver named Benny (Mel Johnson, Jr.), who takes him to Venusville where Quaid meets Melina, but she doesn't believe his story and forces him to leave. At his Hilton Hotel room, Quaid is visited by Rekall technician Dr. Edgemar (Roy Brocksmith), who claims that the chases and the trip to Mars are all part of Quaid's Rekall ego trip. Quaid doesn't believe this and suspects Edgemar is working for Cohaagen. Edgemar brings Lori in, and she tells Quaid to return to her. Edgemar offers Quaid a red pill to wake him from the dream. Quaid shoots Edgemar in the forehead after seeing him sweat in fear, and spits the pill out. Quaid realises he is in reality. Four agents blast into the room and capture Quaid with Lori's help, revealing her true evil nature. Richter and Helm arrange to meet them at the service elevator. At the service elevator, Melina kills the agents and fights Lori. Just as Lori prepares to kill Melina, Quaid grabs a gun and shoots Lori in the forehead. Quaid and Melina run down the hallway just before Richter and Helm arrive. Helm runs down the hallway while Richter looks at his dead wife. Richter is now in a complete uncontrollable rage.

Richter and Helm chase them, as Richter wants revenge for Lori's death. Quaid and Melina start climbing down a ladder in front of the dome. Helm spots them but doesn't shoot after realizing the danger of cracking the dome. Richter tries to shoot Quaid and Melina while they climb in front of the dome, but Helm smashes Richter's arm down before he can crack the dome. Richter threatens to shoot Helm but Helm reminds him they will get sucked to the airless surface if the dome is cracked, which brings Richter to his senses. During a car chase and gun battle with the enraged Richter and Helm, Benny takes Quaid and Melina to the Last Resort, where rebel mutant Tony (Dean Norris) opens a secret doorway for the trio to escape through. Richter, Helm, and soldiers arrive and attack the customers. Helm shoots Tony in the shoulder, but Tony's friend Thumbelina (Debbie Lee Carrington) kills Helm with a Bowie knife. Thumbelina also shoots some of the soldiers. Richter and the remaining soldiers escape and retreat after Cohaagen orders them to get out of Sector G. As punishment for protecting Quaid, Cohaagen shuts off the giant fans in Venusville and closes the entrances to it so the mutants will die from asphyxiation. Quaid, Melina and Benny enter the rebel hideout, where Quaid meets the psychic mutant Kuato (Marshall Bell). Kuato unlocks the secret in Quaid's mind: an alien reactor in the Mars Pyramid Mine which can provide oxygen for the Mars atmosphere and cause Cohaagen to lose his power over the Mars colony. Benny reveals he is one of the villains after shooting Kuato inside an airlock during a gun battle with Cohaagen's soldiers. Richter delivers the killing shot to Kuato, and Quaid and Melina are taken to Cohaagen. It turns out Hauser worked for Cohaagen, and volunteered to become Quaid in order to infiltrate the rebel base and kill Kuato. In an implant lab, Cohaagen attempts to turn Quaid back into Hauser and implant memories in Melina's mind that will make her Hauser's wife, but Quaid frees himself, kills the technicians, and frees Melina.

Quaid and Melina escape and head into the Mine to start the reactor, but Benny attacks them with a drilling mole vehicle. Quaid kills Benny with a drillhammer. Then Quaid and Melina kill Cohaagen's remaining soldiers. Quaid battles Richter on a freight elevator. Quaid flips Richter over the side, guillotine ridges cut off Richter's arms and Richter falls to his death. In the reactor control room, Cohaagen attempts to blow up the reactor, but Quaid and Melina stop him. Melina shoots Cohaagen in the arm and shoulder, but Cohaagen activates the detonator. Quaid throws the bomb down a shaft, but the explosion causes a vacuum, sucking Cohaagen outside where he decompresses and dies. Quaid starts the reactor, but he and Melina get sucked outside. They are saved after the reactor melts the ice core and releases the oxygen for Mars. This also saves everyone in Venusville. The reactor causes all of the dome windows to shatter. Mars now has a blue sky and an atmosphere. Tony, Thumbelina, and the other humans and mutants stand on the Mars surface, gazing at the blue sky. Quaid and Melina admire the blue sky and kiss each other.

Plot hole: When Hauser/Quaid returns to Mars, some of the people that knew him before as Hauser call him Quaid. (00:45:40)

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: If you're talking about when he's disguised as the fat woman, only Richter calls him Quaid. But he knew him as Quaid.


More mistakes in Total Recall

Lori: They erased your identity and implanted a new one. I was written in as your wife so I could watch you and make sure the erasure took. Sorry, Quaid, your whole life is just a dream.
Douglas Quaid: Okay then, if I'm not me, who the hell am I?
Lori: Beats me. I just work here.


More quotes from Total Recall

Trivia: Most of the movie was shot in Mexico because it was believed labour costs to build the sets would be cheaper there, but it turned out that the cost of importing required materials from the US negated this benefit.


More trivia for Total Recall

Question: Does the movie give any indication with any evidence in the movie that Douglas is dreaming for the ending?

Athletic Jason

Answer: Verhoeven points out that if a viewer believes the whole film is a dream, then Edgemar's prediction that Quaid will end up being lobotomized is fulfilled in the fade to white which ends the movie.

Answer: When Dr. Edgemar is in the hotel room with Quaid and Lori, Quaid puts a gun to Edgemar's head and says that if it's all a dream, that Quaid could just pull the trigger and it wouldn't really matter. Edgemar goes into details about consequences of what would happen if Quaid killed him. As seen, when Quaid kills Edgemar the walls of the hotel room crash down, Quaid believes he's the rebel savior, had visions of alien civilization and is best friends with Cohaagen and the white light that is at the end of the movie indicates that Quaid was lobotomized.

Also, consider the end when Quaid and Melina are on the surface of Mars, suffocating. Their eyes are bulging, the Mars atmosphere is burning their lungs, and their faces are bloated. Yet a few minutes later they're perfectly normal and having a romantic kiss.

Answer: There are many signs that the adventure was reality. When Quaid watched the news (before going to Rekall), the newscasters asked Cohaagen about Kuato and alien artifacts (the alien reactor) in the Mars Pyramid Mine. Lori didn't want Quaid going to Mars or thinking about Mars. Harry didn't want Quaid to go to Rekall, as he sounded very intense when he said this to Quaid. The Rekall technicians popped Quaid's memory cap before they could implant his ego trip. Richter and Helm were watching Quaid the whole time and his trip to Rekall made them attempt to kill him before he could remember the alien reactor and his previous identity. Edgemar lied when he said Quaid's "dream" started in the middle of the implant procedure when Dr. Lull had told McClane they hadn't implanted the ego trip yet. Edgemar shouldn't have been sweating if it was a dream. Richter, Helm, Lori, Edgemar, and Benny were all trying to help Cohaagen keep his evil power and prevent Mars from having free air.

This isn't true. The DVD commentary states that if the viewer is believing that the story is a dream, then it begins right where the camera cuts to McClane and his female client watching the TV monitor. The bit where Quaid resists and Renata says she hasn't implanted the ego trip yet are part of the dream. The clue is that McClane's statement is "the trip is as real as any memory in your head." So for it to come across as real, it has to begin right there and then.

If Lori is really Quaid's wife, it seems strange that he would dream of her trying to kill him. When Richter and Helm are trying to kill Quaid, several people get killed in the crossfire. When Edgemar and Lori visit Quaid, Lori gives Edgemar a look right before he takes out the red pill, almost as if Lori is signaling Edgemar to do that. They are awfully eager for Quaid to take that pill, and the film's novelization states that the pill could possibly be a knockout dose or lethal. If Edgemar is a projection, he should not be sweating, which makes Quaid realise Edgemar is real. Those four agents who blast through the wall were back there listening to the conversation and waiting to see if Edgemar's plan with the pill would work. Richter and Helm were downstairs in the bar waiting to hear from Lori and Edgemar that they captured Quaid. If Edgemar was telling the truth, why would Richter and Helm be down in the bar waiting? Also, the novel points more toward reality.

You are forgetting to assume the dream shows him stuff that didn't actually happen, like innocents being killed in crossfire. If it is all a dream it all doesn't matter, he is being fed lies by the implants, about his wife, about Cohaagen, about everything, the fact it connects to real events before he went to Recall (which don't show the truth at all) just shows the ingenuity of the implants, who use his memories to create the story. Edgemar sweating could be another illusion caused by the implants. If it really is all a dream the moment he killed Edgemar the implants screwed his brain up enough there was no way of knowing what was real anymore, and his wife is sitting besides him at Recall crying that he isn't going to wake up anymore, whilst Quaid is experiencing killing her in his dream. This then goes on for him until the end it lobotomizes him. That is, if you believe it was a dream.


There is a villains site called Villains Wiki. Edgemar is listed on this site along with Cohaagen, Richter, Helm, Lori, Harry, and Benny. The article about Edgemar states that Quaid realises Edgemar is working for Cohaagen when he sees him sweating. It also states that Edgemar's goal is to aid Cohaagen in his plans. Also mentioned is the fact that Richter is Lori's real husband and is angered when Quaid kills her the same way he kills Edgemar.

Answer: The "dream" is when Quaid thinks Lori is his wife. Lori is really Richter's wife. The dreams Quaid had of Melina were visions reminding him of his past life.

Answer: Edgemar's red pill may have been a knockout dose so Richter, Helm, and Lori could take Quaid to Cohaagen. The red pill could also have possibly been poison, like cyanide. The pill wouldn't have returned Quaid to reality because he was still in reality.

More questions & answers from Total Recall

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