True Lies

Year: 1994
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: James Cameron
Producer: James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron
Cast: Arnold Scwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Eliza Dushku, Bill Paxton, Tia Carrere, Grant Heslov, Art Malik, Charlton Heston
Even at the time it seemed a bit beneath a director as visionary as James Cameron to do a straight action thriller, although it does have the claim to fame of having the first Islamic terrorist villains of a mainstream Hollywood movie.

It's on a second viewing however that you realise how flabby and overblown it is, how many odd tics of scripting, 'that'll do' directing choices and frankly shoddy effects there are that you can find in plenty of movies even now but never expect to find in Cameron's oeuvre.

It's more or less based on what James Bond's life would be like if he was married and had to keep his identity a secret even from his family (loosely adapted from a French comedy script). While crisscrossing the globe from shootouts with goons surrounding a stately mansion where he's just tangoed with a beautiful antiques dealer (Carrere) to ultra-secret technology in his NSA-like workplace, Harry Tasker (Schwarzenegger) has a devoted wife and bratty daughter at home like any working schmoe.

The trouble is, relations with Helen (Curtis) and Dana (a prepubescent Dushku) are straining by Harry never being there and pretending to be a computer salesman, given life by the subplot of Helen starting to fall for a sleazy womaniser car dealer who poses as a spy (Paxton).

But when a cell of militant Muslim terrorists get their hands on a series of nuclear weapons Harry, his partner Albert (Arnold) and their team are going to have to work harder than ever, especially when things with Helen are starting to unravel.

Some good thrills and 80s style action when the Schwarzenegger/Willis/Stallone nexus style was starting to fall out of favour, but not as good as you remember. And watch out for sometime bit part player and future Clooney co-writer grant Heslov as one of Harry's backup team.

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