True Lies: Espionage is a fun family activity

True Lies is in that transition period from the time when every movie had to do with Russian nukes falling into the hands of terrorists by way of budget-strapped former Soviet states to every movie being about drugs, weapons, and or illicit art deals in or out of the Middle East. Here are some notes as I watch.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan were doing action-comedy movies in the 90s, so I'm surprised they never teamed up. Iron Mask never happened. Never happened. Maybe Tom Arnold was a better fit back then, but he seems out of place to me. He's registered in my mind as a comedian first with action star not really in there at all.

However, I am happy to report he saw the trend of older comedians embracing transophobia and other ancient evils and went the other way.

Tom Arnold: "I didn’t want to fall in love with Dawn Staley until after the Iowa game tomorrow but she is making it so hard"; Dawn Staley: "If you consider yourself a woman and you want to play sports or vice versa, you should be able to play."

I think we can forgive someone who's been on this Earth for 65 orbits who's still trying to stay current and kind for not cluing in to the "biological males" dogwhistle and picking a different tweet. This is not his first time sharing pro-trans things, and it's far from the first time he's said pro-trans things.

Continuing on.

Jamie Lee Curtis plays Arnold's wife. I mainly know her for her most famous role, Laurie Strode in the Halloween series, and completely forgot she was in this movie. I'm less than 40 minutes in and I know this would have been a better action movie with her as the co-star. But if I recall correctly, that eventually happens.

You don't see a lot of horse chases in non-Western action movies. You especially don't see a lot of horses chasing motorcycles. Intuitively, the motorcycle wins, but experience counts for a lot and I'm sure super secret agent training involves equestrian training. The motorcycle appears to be a Kawasaki Ninja 500R and I can't find any evidence it has a reverse gear on a quick search. Considering the dude revved the engine while backing the motorcycle up, I doubt he had much experience.

Something I just noticed is True Lies runs over two hours. You don't see a lot of that before the MCU showed you could make a long action flick complete with years of sequels and still make a few tens of billions of dollars. Now it seems like every movie is pushing 3 hours whether or not the plot can support it.

Iron Mask, which we do not talk about as mentioned above, is evidence The Governator's star power isn't enough to carry a movie alone. True Lies made $378 million on a $100 million budget, and that's not small whether in 1994 dollars or today's. Iron Mask lost $40 million.

Stuff is starting to come back to me from the last time I watched this years ago. Like the fake spy. No idea what happens to him though. Let's find out! I am thinking back to the last time Arnold's character was near a dude he didn't like in a sports car in Commando.

"Remember when I promised to kill you last?"
"Yeah, you did!"
"I lied."

I wouldn't be surprised if it's the same model and an intentional homage. And I just realized Simon was played by Bill Paxton of Twister and Aliens fame. He was one of the punks with Brian Thompson.

You’ve probably seen character actor Brian Thompson even if you don’t know his name
Brian Thompson is a character actor. A character actor essentially specializes in playing unique and memorable side characters. They’re actors who find a niche rather than aim for the highest heights of stardom. * Admiral Valdore in Star Trek: Enterprise. * Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. * Alien Bounty Hunter in X-Files.

"Do you still love your husband?"

I don't think I appreciated Jamie Lee Curtis's delivery of the answer to the mysterious men behind the mirror back when I watched this the last time. I needed to grow a bit. Now I do.

Also, her character was completely justified in kicking his ass. He let the whole thing go on way too long. He didn't leave enough time to explain he's a spy before the dudes rushed in to kidnap them, and now I remember she had to learn it from someone not sympathetic to either of them. "Oh so now it's Tasker, not Renquist."

"What can I say, I'm a spy?"

And he gets another ass kicking.

To the truth serum scene...

"Is it working?"
"Ask me a question I would normally lie to."
"Are we gonna die?"

And then a classic I forgot the originating movie for.

"Have you ever killed anyone?"
"Yeah, but they were all bad."

Leading right to...

"Is there anything you want to tell me before we start?"
"Yeah, I'm gonna kill you pretty soon."
"How, exactly?"

And because we've established he's telling the truth, the gruesome death he describes is inevitable.

"I married Rambo."

And now a chase scene that involves getting to the chopper, the limo, and the same chopper! They show a Harrier jump jet landing on the shoulder as a "No parking on shoulder" sign comes into view.

Harrier jump jets were the big deal in the 90s even though they started production in the 60s. Then it was the F-22. Then it was the F-35. Then it was the Predator and robot dogs with guns and all kinds of drones.

At the scene of the final confrontation...

"With one turn of that key..."

"What key?"

"That key!" He points and looks. The camera's focus slides from the villain to the arming device. The key is gone. He turns to the hostage, Tasker's daughter, and figures out being sneaky runs in the family.

What remains is the action and comedy in action-comedy, so we'll conclude the notes here. It's a good movie. It makes me want to rewatch The Americans which I now believe is a parallel universe version of True Lies.