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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> October 1999 >> True Lies

True Lies

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
1 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
October 1999
IMDB Name:
True Lies (1994)
James Cameron
action, suspense
MPAA Rating:
R for a lot of action/violence and some language.

Bad Timing

By the time I finally got to see it, True Lies was already five years old. Worse, it was a summer thriller, and I waited until an October to rent it. To top it all off, the last movie I saw was American Beauty, which dazzled me with a family that I could believe really existed beyond the confines of the screen. That leaves the special effects to impress me, but I think The Matrix has spoiled me for action pictures forever. I realize that it is unfair to criticize movies for not living up to those which follow, but without the sci-fi interest in Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Terminator, I see that even a James Cameron picture can seem a little flat.

Lame Duck

Thrillers live and die by their villains, with an assist from their action sequences. Alan Rickman set the standard in Die Hard eleven years ago and has rarely been equaled since. Art Malik doesn't even come close. He has intense eyes that always show the rage inside, but the script gives him very little to work with. As for the action sequences, only one is really interesting, and that one largely because the bathroom and horse add good comic elements.

In the absence of a proper villain and mind-blowing effects, we have two auxiliary players to fall back on for entertainment, the wife and the sidekick. Tom Arnold is actually not bad as the sidekick. He gets most of the good lines, but I thought the way they scripted him in the interrogation scene was pretty poor. Jamie Lee Curtis certainly heats up the screen when given half a chance, but she otherwise doesn't get to do anything fun.

MPAA Priorities

Unsurprisingly, the MPAA gave True Lies an R. I'm delighted that it has an R because of its extreme violence, and not for it's rather mild striptease. Every once in a while, they get it right.

Nitpicking (Spoilers!)

I admit that this was a big summer action flick, but even on just one go round, I've got an awful lot of nits to pick. What can I say? It's the critic in me.

DVD Comments

I'm largely impressed by the menus and transitions for the True Lies disc. They nicely fit the tone of the movie, are easy to read, and still have snazzy animation. Even the scene selection menu is completely intuitive, a rarity. As nice as the menus look and as easy as they are to use, I'm still extremely annoyed that the "Extra Features" menu contains one (1) item, the trailer. Why not just have the trailer be available from the main menu directly? Worse, the trailer isn't even widescreen!

See the IMDB information on True Lies's DVD.

Other Opinions

Copyright 1999-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.