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True Lies Review

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When a secret agent learns of his wife's extra-marital affair, he pursues her and uses his intelligence resources in a job he kept secret from her.

★★★★

Any film which features Arnold Schwarzenegger attempting to send himself up is usually a recipe for trouble — to wit, the box office performance of Last Action Hero or the lack of interest in his prosthetic pregnancy in Junior. True Lies, fortunately, is the exception to that rule — a glorious piece of self-parody that reunites Schwarzenegger with his Terminating partner James Cameron to startling effect. Arnie (complete with alarming sneer) is Harry Tasker, a Bond-derived spy capable of knocking off entire armies of villains with a single trusty Uzi 9mm, even though his wife Helen (Curtis) and daughter (Eliza Dushku) are convinced it’s a mundane computer sales job which is bringing home the family bacon.
When a string of complicated coincidences lead Helen to the truth, the inevitable hell breaks loose and the two of them find themselves in one of those awkward save-the-planet type situations courtesy of the obligatory stereotypical insane Arab terrorists (led by Art Malik).If the whole thing does come across as politically incorrect at every turn, a situation fuelled by a middle sequence of latent and unsettling misogyny, it is rescued by Cameron’s knack of pulling off standard-setting action scenes.
The final half-hour, in particular, is a remarkable tour de force that employs helicopters, out-of-control limos and a few Harrier jump jets thrown in for good measure and remains heart-stopping even for those who have already experienced it nine feet high in the cinema. What sets this apart from the average actioner is an over-the-top quality that makes it impossible to take seriously (a hilariously prolonged horseback chase, for example, is closer to something out of a Naked Gun movie than anything else). The net result is unbeatably good fun, helped along by that inherent fantasy that one man can create global mayhem without stopping to worry who’s going to clean up afterwards.

Proves that throwing everything at the camera sometimes works a treat.