tek's rating:

True Lies (R)
IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

Caution: potential spoilers.

So, this came out in 1994, and I just watched it in 2012. That's 18 damn years I waited to see it. It's kind of funny, now, seeing characters use Windows 3.1, though the internet seemed faster than I would have expected for way back then. But I suppose that's because they're spies. Still, aside from that, the movie seemed very sort of 1980s, to me, rather than 90s. Oh, also it was cool to see Eliza Dushku when she was younger than I've probably ever seen her before, though she was a teenager, anyway.

Um, so anyway... I could call this a "spy flick" or an "action movie," but mainly it's a comedy. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Harry Tasker, a spy working for some government agency called "Omega Sector." His mission in the movie is to stop a terrorist splinter group called the Crimson Jihad, led by a man named Salim Abu Aziz. The group is smuggling nuclear weapons through an antiquities dealer named Juno Skinner (played by Tia Carrere). Harry has a couple of partners; one is Albert Gibson (Tom Arnold), who's been his partner for 15 years. The other is a new member of their team, named Faisil. Meanwhile, Harry is married to a woman named Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis), with whom he has a daughter named Dana (Dushku). Of course, they have no idea he's a spy. This is the most obvious "comedy" aspect of the movie, although it's also sort of more dramatic. Actually, I think the funniest parts are how completely over the top the action elements of the movie are. There's the fairly standard cliché of the heroes getting shot at by a ton of bad guys with automatic weapons, and never getting hit, of course. But there are also tons of things that go way beyond that, such as Harry chasing Aziz at one point... on a horse and motorcycle, respectively. And I won't even get into the utterly redonkulous part about that. And that's just one example of the movie's redonkulousness.

Anyway, Harry feels bad about always missing out on time with his family, when he promises them he'll see them. So one day he goes to Helen's office to take her to lunch. And something happened that I totally misread at first. Helen's coworker tells her that her mystery man, a guy named Simon, was on the phone. So Helen answers it, and makes plans to meet him. What I thought was going on was that the coworker had seen Harry coming in, and was setting up some joke she and Helen had planned, to make it sound like she was having an affair... and she'd later reveal the truth to Harry. It did seem odd that she walked right past him without noticing him, and let the gag go on longer than I expected... it wasn't until a few scenes later that I realized there really was a Simon, and it wasn't a joke... Harry got Gibson to tap Helen's phones and put a receiver in her purse and whatnot. So they can spy on her while she talks with, and later meets with Simon.

Well, that whole situation is not what it seemed, at least not on Helen's part. I don't really want to reveal what exactly Simon was doing, or how Harry reacted to all this... but it's more redonkulousness. And eventually, after the whole Simon subplot is done with, Helen gets caught up in Harry's spy mission, and finally learns the truth about what he does for a living. And then mostly the romantic comedy of errors is put on the back burner, so the plot can get back to being an action film. With lots of guns and explosions and fire and helicopters and jets and nuclear warheads and whatnot. But fear not, for the world will eventually be saved, and Harry and Helen will get back to the romantic comedy. More or less. Though the two plotlines will remain somewhat entangled.

Well, it's a reasonably fun and funny movie. I cannot overuse the word "redonkulous," in regards to both of the plotlines. And the action is pretty awesome at the same time that I'm laughing at how over the top it is. Oh, and of course Helen and Juno are totally hot. But it's still not something I feel the need to ever see again. Though if the sequel actually gets made, I'll be interested in seeing that....


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