Saturday, October 29, 2016

True Lies (1994)

IMDb plot summary: A fearless, globe-trotting, terrorist-battling secret agent has his life turned upside down when he discovers his wife might be having an affair with a used car salesman.
Directed by James Cameron. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, and Art Malik.

I knew very little about this movie before watching it. I knew James Cameron did it, it was an action movie, that people loved it, and that it starred Schwarzenegger. I figured I'd be mildly appreciative of it at best, as Cameron's action movies often don't capture my imagination. This movie, however, is an exception. What keeps this fresh is that it's only about 2/3 action, and the other third is about Schwarzenegger's marriage to Jamie Lee Curtis, and the two together make for a really great movie.

Cameron does a much better job pacing the story here than I've thought he did in previous movies, especially his longer ones. The movie is still about 20 minutes too long, but even a two-hour action movie is tough to keep interesting. Cameron not only keeps the action scenes rolling by loading them up with zaniness but he also widely varies the *type* of action happening. Even in the midst of a giant gun battle, he pauses frequently to switch to flamethrowers or hand-to-hand combat or a chase to keep you on your toes. That's impressive.

I did find myself a little skeeved out by the "revenge on the cheating wife" section of the movie, but fortunately A) it doesn't last long, B) it's played with Schwarzenegger being in the wrong, and C) the movie works hard after this moment to give her enough to do that it doesn't feel like her existence in the movie relies on her functioning as a wayward woman to be punished.

Overall, it's a great ride, and certainly my favorite thing either Cameron or Schwarzenegger's done outside of the Terminator series.

4 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
True Lies > Interiors
True Lies > A Clockwork Orange
True Lies < A Man for All Seasons
True Lies > I've Loved You So Long
True Lies < Flight
True Lies < Super
True Lies > Jaws
True Lies > Anomalisa
True Lies < Regarding Henry
True Lies < M. Butterfly
True Lies < Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
True Lies < Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Final spot: #443 out of 2526.

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