Switzerland, a swanky hotel. A suspicious billionaire is throwing a big party. Everything goes well until an uninvited guest shows up. The name’s Tasker. Harry Tasker. He’s played with mucho machismo by the unique Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tasker is kinda like a more badass James Bond. He has a cool Austrian accent, but he can speak 5 different languages. He’s also quite humorous and no one’s better than him at kicking butt and using a gun. Anyway, Tasker’s at the party to find some information about a deal of nuclear weaponry. He also finds the time to tango with the beautiful Juno (Tia Carrere). But before long, all fucking hell breaks loose and the action begins. The movie will put Tasker in many kind of trouble, involving Arab terrorists but also his wife, who might be having an affair.

This is an excellent picture. It’s inspired by “La Totale”, a cheesy French film, but James Cameron‘s screenplay is much more over the top and action-packed. Schwarzenegger is awesome as always, but the other actors are also great: Tom Arnold is very funny as Tasker’s partner, Jamie Lee Curtis is drop-dead gorgeous as his wife (well, not at first, but wait for that striptease scene!) and Art Malik masterfully portrays Aziz, the film’s villain. “True Lies” also features appearances from the always amusing Bill Paxton and the iconic Charlton Heston with an eyepatch, Nick Fury-style.

Cameron is truly one of the most gifted action filmmakers out there. My favorite sequence is Tasker’s escape from the terrorists’ island, one of the most thrilling scenes in Schwarzenegger’s career, but I also love the very Bondish opening with the skiing gunmen, the motorcycle/horse chase, that crazy scene on the blown-up bridge, the finale on the skyscraper with Arnold in a fighter jet… There’s one slight problem with the film though, the second act about Tasker’s crummy marriage. It’s an enjoyable piece of light comedy, but I’m not sure it belongs in an action movie. Still, it’s an extremely entertaining film, no doubt about that.

Brief update (12/23/07)

Man, all those scenes with the Arab terrorists from the “Crimson Jihad” faction really play different post-9/11, eh? I’m not going PC on you and deploring this, mind. If anything, Cameron’s movie was eerily prescient…

Posted on May 1, 2002January 4, 2014Author KevinCategories Movie Reviews