[box cover]

True Lies

Not as much an action film as a screwball comedy with the action tacked on, James Cameron's 1994 True Lies utilizes the thinnest of plots and never even tries to justify how bad the plot is, tossing reason aside and instead going for the comic jugular. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Harry Tasker, an American spy who is a master of espionage and sheer brutality. But, national security being what it is, Harry's wife Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) has no idea what he actually does for a living, and believes that he is a computer salesman who often travels out of town for conventions. Schwarzenegger — who has long wanted to live down his "Terminator" image — is given the opportunity to flex his comic muscles here, which he manages very well. Much of the fun in True Lies also comes from Tom Arnold as Albert Gibson, Harry's portly, smart-assed partner, and a brilliant performance by Cameron-regular Bill Paxton as a squalid used-car salesman who puts the moves on Helen, unaware that her husband is one of the most dangerous men alive. Even Charlton Heston shows up for a few laughs as Spencer Trilby, the head of "Omega Force," the U.S. agency that Harry and Gib work for. Despite a reality-defying conclusion and one questionable scene where a terrified Curtis is forced to strip down to her underwear, True Lies manages a neat trick by upstaging Cameron's well-known flair for action with humor that is just as memorable. Also starring Tia Carrere, Art Malik, Eliza Dushku, and Marshall Manesh. Excellent transfer, DD 5.1 or Dolby 2.0, trailer.

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