James Cameron is another one of those directors whose name is synonymous with action films, and very good ones at that. Before Avatar, he did such films as Aliens, Terminator and Terminator 2, and he even did well with drama in Titanic (although I’m not a huge fan of it myself). True Lies is another one of his films that is a nice combination of intense action and funny romantic comedy.
Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) isn’t quite what he seems. To his wife (Jamie Lee Curtis), he is a boring computer salesman whose excuse for not being home for long periods of times are business meetings and conventions. What she doesn’t know is that he’s a secret agent working for a ghostly government program. While he has no problem saving the world, Tasker is having a bit more trouble saving his marriage. On top of everything else, a Middle Eastern terrorist organization has nuclear warheads on American soil with threats of blowing up major cities unless their demands are met. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they brought Harry’s family into the mix thinking it would give them the upper hand…
True Lies can pretty much be broken up into two separate movies. One movie is a high octane action/spy film that will impress any action junkie with its nonstop barrage of over the top gunplay and explosions. The other movie is a goofy romantic comedy about a secret agent trying his best to save a marriage that appears to be doomed. Both ideas are good and well executed. The problem is the strange and abrupt transition from one to the other at a certain point. This movie also feels long, very long. But, unlike Bad Boys II, this isn’t a problem and the film is able to sustain itself.
The action se pieces are truly remarkable. At the time, this was one of the most expensive movies ever made, and it shows. What else would you expect from James Cameron? There’s planes, helicopters, car chases, huge explosions, and from a certain point non stop gun fire. Not only is there lots of it, it’s all really cool. There’s one particular chase that is hysterical involving a terrorist riding a motorcycle through a crowded hotel, being chased by Tasker on horse back. Yes. Horseback. Honestly, one of the most creative chase scenes I’ve seen in all my days.
As a bit of a history lesson, I think it’s noteworthy to say how much shit this movie got by a couple different groups. Women found it to be incredibly sexist how Curtis’ character is portrayed. She’s pretty ditzy and there is a pretty random strip tease that really got people worked up. Middle Easter groups were also offended by how their culture were portrayed, as in terrorists and crazy. While I see where these groups are coming from, I have to say that I’ve seen plenty of other films that have characters similar to the ones people were angry about in this. I don’t know if it was the time period or what, but people were furious. I’m sure Cameron shed a tear while he was on his way to the bank.
While True Lies isn’t Cameron’s best film, it’s still a great action movie. If the climax doesn’t get your adrenaline rushing, you might want to get yourself checked out. It’s funny and loud, even though it’ll take up most of your afternoon. I’d say check it out, it’s worth a watch or two.