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TRUE LIES (1994)
No. 1 Secret Agent, Harry Tasker, lives a double life: by day he's a deadly government agent, by night he's your typical “middle class” family man. But when things heat up at "work," domestic misunderstandings ensue. While Harry busies himself tracking down
With TRUE LIES director James Cameron has created an American James Bond.
Promotional Line: "When he said I do, he didn't say what he did."
The basic story involves Harry Tasker (Schwarzenegger), who leads a double life. His wife, Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) thinks he's a buffed but mild, boring computer salesman, but he's really an action oriented super spy. Like many people, with a challenging career, he was not spending enough time with his wife and daughter, and both were heading for trouble. He finds himself trying to balance fighting bad terrorists with the needs of his family. His daughter, Dana (Eliza Dushku) shows signs of being out of control and his wife is lonely because he is gone so much. When both of his worlds come colliding together, Henry discovers how precious his family is to him, and changes his mode of operation and way of thinking by the end of the film, so that his family life and his line of work are in balance.
TRUE LIES is a classic because of its inspiring direction and pacing, marvelous screenplay, a talented cast, terrific production values. They had the money to create many memorable scenes and overall the money actually made it onto the screen.
The marvelous direction was by the very talented and insightful James Cameron, who directed such films as THE TERMINATOR, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY, ALIENS, and TITANIC.
This entertaining screenplay was written by two Frenchmen, Claude Zidi and Simon Michaël. The whole film had just the right amount of action and humor.
A favorite scene happens toward the beginning of the film, when Arnold has a fight and shoot out in the men's bathroom of a hotel and the ensuing chase of the bad guy terrorist (Art Malik), on the motorcycle, with Arnold in hot pursuit on a police horse. The chase goes through the downtown park and winds up in a swanky hotel, where havoc reigns, as these two are like bulls in a china shop. Arnold at least says, "Sorry!" as his horse knocks things and people over. The pursuit goes up an elevator, and ends when the terrorist rides off the top of the hotel, and lands like Evil Kenieval would, in the pool of another hotel. Arnold humorously scolds his horse for not following the motorcycle off the roof.
The exciting escape of Arnold & Jamie from their bad guy captors is well directed, well staged, with plenty of fireworks. A lot of action happens not only on the island off the Florida keys, but also on the highway that leads back to the mainland.
Yet another favorite scene involves a battle
between Arnold, in a Harrier jet, and terrorists on the upper
floors of a skyscraper, where the terrorists have a nuclear bomb
that they threaten to set off, if their demands aren't met. Arnold's
kidnapped daughter (Eliza Dushku), is also in the skyscraper,
and she is having a mission of her own making in progress. The
firepower, FX, and sheer pyrotechnics of the scene really gets
the blood pumping.
The rest of the cast also do a first rate job, notably Jamie Lee Curtis who is believable as the neglected, bored wife who transforms into a seductive, (sort of), spy partner to her husband.
An interesting subplot of the film involves Jamie Lee Curtis, and a slimy, used car salesman, played by Bill Paxton (of Apollo 13), who is a wanna-be spy, who uses it as a pick up line. Jamie's character fully believes his spy yarns, and wants to help him, but not sleep with him, as the salesman finds out, on the same night Arnold and company catch up to them.
Tia Carrere and Art Malik make a great bad guy dynamic duo. I enjoyed Art Malik's fanatical portrayal of a middle eastern terrorist. He was born in Pakistan, and has convincingly portrayed his part.