True Lies (1994) – James Cameron


The 101 Action Movies list gave me a chance to revisit a James Cameron movie that I seem to constantly forget about, but love to watch every time it is on… True Lies.

Cameron directs this actioner which has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek, and amps up the action sequences that come one after the next in a rapid fire sequence.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Harry Tasker, a member of Omega Sector, an ultra-secret agency that operates around the world. It’s so secret that his wife Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) is laboring under the belief that her husband is a boring computer salesman, and their daughter, Dana (Eliza Dushku) can’t be bothered with either of them.

Harry and his team, which includes Albert Gibson (Tom Arnold) and Faisal (Grant Heslov), all overseen by the ominously eye-patched Spencer Trilby (Charlton Heston), find themselves trying to stop an extremist group known as the Crimson Jihad led by the always under-used Art Malik as Salim Abu Aziz from detonating nuclear weapons on American soil.


Wrapped around and through this story is Helen being seduced by a car salesman, Simon (Bill Paxton – who is always enjoyable to see!), posing as an international spy. Harry starts to worry he’s losing his wife, and sets up a little adventure for her, to delightful effect, but the two of them find themselves fighting for their lives as Aziz captures them both.

The action sequences are over the top and brilliant, from a chase down a snowy mountain-side to a motorcycle/horse chase through streets and buildings. They are crafted and put together with Cameron’s usually deftness, with just a hint of a wink at the audience along with a sly grin, as the characters tumble from one over the top sequence to the next, finally culminating atop a harrier jump jet.

Brad Fiedel brings a fantastic score to the film, a driving beat and theme that as soon as it began, I found myself whistling along, unable to believe that I had forgotten it.

The production design, is overseen by the best man for the job Peter Lamont, who has overseen or been involved with the Bond films in one form or another since Goldfinger. They are impressive, and awe-inspiring, one of my favorites is femme fatale Juno Skinner’s (Tia Carrere) office and work area, filled with towering pieces of art and statuary.


The film never takes itself too seriously and it’s fun to see Arnold get his comedy on alongside Tom Arnold, who in larger doses could have been truly annoying in the film, but Cameron keeps him restrained enough to just pop up now and again with a comedic moment.

The film’s special effects are put together by the company Cameron founded, Digital Domain, and a lot of them hold up really well. There are a few moments on and around the jump jet at the end that look a little uneven now, but I don’t remember them detracting from my enjoyment of the film anytime I watched it.

It’s weird that I keep forgetting about this one, I think I’m waiting for a blu-ray release, with all manner of extras, and then this one will find its way into high rotation again.

Is there a film that you constantly forget about but as soon as you see it, you remember how much you loved it?


One Comment Add yours

  1. Sean says:

    A very underrated movie imho. A bit goofy in parts, but alot of fun. It was wrecked by bad publicity and the exquisite misfortune of being released at the same time as Jurassic Park

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