True Lies (1994) Directed by James Cameron: a jpoc movie review
Gloriously and successfully over the top.
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Main Cast
Arnold Schwarzenegger Harry Tasker/Harry Renquist/Boris
Jamie Lee Curtis Helen Tasker
Bill Paxton Simon
Tia Carrere Juno Skinner
Art Malik Salim Abu Aziz
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viewing notes
I watched this movie on DVD at a friend's house in Munich in Jan 2002.
rating
Six out of ten.
the jpoc review
Action movies generally make some attempt at credibility both in plot and in the action itself. "True Lies" does not and, in a strange way, it seems to be liberated by its total disregard for plausibility and ends up as one of the most entertaining movies of its type.

Harry Renquist (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a US federal agent working for an agency whose very existence is denied. His own wife, Helen Tasker, (Jamie Lee Curtis) thinks that he is Harry Tasker, a rather boring computer salesman and that, when he is off saving the world, he is merely trying to sell a few computers to a foreign company.

He is perhaps a little too boring for Helen and she is just beginning to get involved with Simon (Bill Paxton) a used car salesman who is pretending to be a spy when her husband finds out and attempts to use the resources of his department to keep tabs on the two of them.

Meanwhile, his current assignment, an investigation into a Mid East terrorist group led by Salim Abu Aziz (Art Malik) begins to become tangled up with his domestic affairs. With the help of Juno Skinner (Tia Carrere) an art dealer specialising in Persian antiquities, Aziz smuggles a batch of ex Soviet nuclear warheads into Florida. His plan is to detonate one as a demonstration and then to hold the US to ransom. As a sideline, he decides that he must kidnap and interrogate Renquist who has been getting a little too close in his investigation. That leaves Renquist/Tasker and his wife on an island with a soon to be detonated bomb and three other warheads headed off across the country.

Of course, you already know that Arnie will save the day and square things with his wife but plot and story line are really just a convenient peg on which to hang some gloriously indulgent action sequences.

As far as it goes, the acting is really all about Schwarzenegger and Curtis. Everyone else is pretty much incidental. Arnie strides through the action sections with his normal aplomb but he falls down badly when he is playing the part of the cuckolded husband. In that mode he is unconvincing. Curtis too is a bit of a let down. She seems to be walking rather woodenly through most of the film though she does wake up when she gets involved in the action. Art Malik does a decent job in the not too demanding role of Aziz the master terrorist. However Tia Carrere just hams it up too far in her role as Juno Skinner the beautiful but evil sidekick. None of this matters though as we are watching this film to see Arnie try to ride a horse off a skyscraper and rescue his daughter with a Harrier jet fighter.

There is action aplenty and the movie just keeps dishing it up. It it one of the few films that has actually made this reviewer's pulse rate rise. This movie does not let the audience catch its breath. The stunts themselves are splendid. Of course they are almost universally implausible but they work.

As an action movie, this is about as good as it gets. The pace is sometimes a little frantic but as escapist enjoyment the film is a hit.