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
8 thoughts on “Paul Verhoeven”
Starship Troopers is something. Great soundtrack, a few of solid action scenes…..and a ton of satirical humor (a lot of which is a little on the nose for my taste, but whatever), purposefully (I think?) bad lines (many of which are insanely quotable) and an overall movie experience that left me confused and angry as a teenager.
It’s polarizing, for sure, but I like it quite a bit.
And, most importantly, Michael Ironside!
Definitely most importantly. I mean, who else would be? Casper Van Dien?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the bad lines are intentional or not. For example, ” Consider it a divorce!”
“You know what I’m thinking? Of course you know what I’m thinking… you’re some kind of smart bug…”
Wow. I’d laugh
Like I said, the first time I watched it, I was pretty confused by the whole thing. The next time I watched it, I had a better idea of what it was going for, and realized what the tone of the movie was. I enjoyed myself a lot more.
So, kind of like The Big Lebowski, only not even half as good.
Verhoeven was apparently pretty annoyed that so few people understood that the humans were the bad guys. You can hardly blame them – people who go to movies about space marines fighting aliens really aren’t expecting to think.
I didn’t see it, so I can’t say anything more than that.
I’ve actually only seen the three you listed (and would list them in reverse order, though it has been years since I saw Basic Instinct).
I saw Robocop again about two years ago. I still dig the story, I still absolutely abhor that the movie got such a laughably bad title, and I could not believe how wooden Peter Weller was (even before he became Robocop…).