Verhoeven seems to really like exaggeration, both in visual effects and story elements. Directing actors does not appear to be his strong suit, but each film has a definite vision and consistent atmosphere. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen by him, though none of it has out and out wowed me. I also haven’t seen Showgirls, which is wowing in that it’s considered one of the worst movies of all-time.
Robocop: Peter Weller, police officer, gets killed during an arrest. Well, almost killed. The Detroit police force is able to turn him into a cyborg who kicks some royal justice ass, makes witty remarks, and struggles with faint memories of his former life. Lots of fun.
Total Recall: Arnold Schwarzenegger is a construction worker who’s having trouble memories about life on Mars, so he visits a memory implant corporation to investigate if he’s currently living out implanted memories. Naturally, a bunch of shit goes down and there’s a lot of questions over what’s real and what isn’t. Like Robocop, some over-the-top situations that are mostly fun, as well as the witty one-liners. I love the visual and philosophical representations of late 21st century Mars colonization. Loosely based on a Philip K. Dick story.
Basic Instinct: Michael Douglas is a detective investigating a murder. The prime suspect is a socialite author (Sharon Stone) who recently released a bestseller which details a murder that is virtually identical. Did she use the book as an alibi or is there a copycat killer? The movie sets up both possibilities really well. Sharon Stone is really good, playing the sexy but emotionally cold psychopath role to a tee. Michael Douglas, unfortunately, never quite comes across realistic. Some will hate the ambiguous ending, though I’m a big fan. Graphic sex scenes broach gratuitousness, but sex is a heavy part of the plot. Your mileage may vary.
Some LGBT supporters were very angry when this film came out, as every suspect in the movie is gay or bisexual, while all of the “good guys” are straight. I have a hard time getting worked up about that, since there is little in the way of emotion in the movie (and I never got the feeling that the sexuality of any character was being judged) and all of those involved, even the “straight” characters, have loose sexual morals.
Other Movies By Paul Verhoeven You May Have Seen
Soldier of Orange
The Fourth Man