True Lies is an action-packed thrill ride
Schwarzenegger is one of those stars whose movies can alter between very good and very bad. He is a lot like Stallone (although Stallone has had some problems with his career with his final hit, Demolition Man, and then three duds), but his movies seem to do a lot better than Stallone's (which is sad considering Stallone is one of my favorite actors). True Lies is actually one of Schwarzenegger's best films. He actually seems to be spoofing all of his characters in other action movies, but this character is better than some of his recent characters.
True Lies is a very clever film that mixes action and comedy, and a little bit of romance, for a truely exciting time. In the fashion of James Bond, Schwarzenegger plays Harry Tasker, a top-notch agent for a secret, "last line of defense", agency. In fact, it's so secretive that he isn't able to tell his family about his job. They think he works for a computer corporation. The beginning of the movie shows otherwise however. Tasker is seen breaking into a mansion. There he meets Juno Skinner (Tia Carrere), tangos with her, and then kills people and blows up buildings. That's how this whole movie goes along. The plot is mainly there for the big action pieces but it's actually very good.
Though not as good as Total Recall or Terminator 2, True Lies makes most movies look small. The stunts and special effects are huge and expensive. James Cameron is probably today's most extravagent director. Not to mention most expensive. He spent over $120 million on this movie. Take, for example, the ending scenes. A bridge gets blown up, Jamie Lee Curtis is rescued from a car at the last second, Schwarzenegger flies a Harrier, and then rescues his daughter while flying.
Not to be outdone though, are the performances. Schwarzenegger is his normal, invincible guy, but this time, he actually has a family--someone to care about. But the real surprises about this movie are Curtis and Tom Arnold. Curtis is sexy but awkward. She is hilarious when she is trying to be cool and suave, and ending up acting out-of-place. During her "dance," which is a very funny sequence, she turns out to have a "sexy" side that I have never seen before. However, the real surprise is Tom Arnold. You know you have a good director when he can make Arnold look cool. Arnold helps Schwarzenegger a lot, and not just with his job. He gives him marital advice, though he has been divorced many times. He also makes sure Tasker has everything he needs to make it look like he is working for a computer corp.
True Lies is rated R. There is plenty of violence and language, along with a partially-nude dance by Curtis. If Stallone could get his hands on material like this, maybe he could get his career back in shape. But Schwarzenegger has always been very reliable at the box office, and he certainly was with this movie. Movies like this usually only come once every couple of years, but when they do, get ready for a good time.
**** out of ****
Reviews by Boyd Petrie