True Lies was the first Lightstorm Entertainment project to be distributed under Cameron's multi-million dollar production deal with 20th Century Fox, as well as the first major production for the visual effects company Digital Domain, which was co-founded by Cameron. True Lies was the only feature film collaboration outside of the Terminator series to feature Cameron, Schwarzenegger, and Brad Fiedel as director, actor, and composer respectively.Locations
Upon its release, True Lies was the most expensive film ever made as well as the first film to have over a $100 million production budget, and went on to a commercial and critical success. For her performance, Curtis won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress—Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and the Saturn Award for Best Actress, while Cameron won the Saturn Award for Best Director. The film ultimately grossed $378 million worldwide at the box-office and was also nominated at the Academy Awards and BAFTAs in the Best Visual Effect category, and also for seven Saturn Awards.
It's stuff like that we go to Arnold Schwarzenegger movies for, and "True Lies" has a lot of it: Laugh-out-loud moments when the violence is so cartoonish we don't take it seriously, and yet are amazed at its inventiveness and audacity. Schwarzenegger has found himself in a lot of unlikely situations in his action-packed career, and "True Lies" seems determined to raise the ante – to go over the top with outlandish and extravagant special effects scenes.Ebert mentions that the striptease scene Jamie Lee Curtis must perform for her (unknown to her) husband is "cruel and not funny", although initially conceding that, "The physical humor is effective, and she's charmingly sexy and klutzy."
Consider, for example, a chase sequence near the beginning of the movie, in which a bad guy on a motorcycle is chased by Arnold, on a horse, through a hotel lobby. Most movies would be content with that. Not "True Lies," which continues the chase on high-rise elevators and ends up on the hotel roof, with Arnold urging the horse to attempt a free fall into a swimming pool.
The tale begins and ends in a flurry of joke violence; Cameron has decided to spoof what he used to take seriously, and the result, though bright and deafening, feels oddly slack—he loosens the screws, and our interest drops away. [...] The middle chunk of the film defies belief—not with special effects, unfortunately, but with humdrum misogyny. Harry suspects his wife (Jamie Lee Curtis) of adultery, kidnaps her, and subjects her to a series of humiliations, apparently in an effort to win back her love. Yeah, right. This section has no logical link with the rest of the picture; the two plots are just banged together as a kind of vague discourse on secrecy. Tom Arnold saves the show as Harry’s sidekick; Charlton Heston pretty well wrecks it again by turning up with an eye patch.Scott Deskin at The Tech noted the films flaws, but ultimately sang its praises, particularly the special effects:
These considerations aside, True Lies is everything one could want in a summer blockbuster. The cast seems comfortable with the outrageous demands of the plot, and Tom Arnold is a pleasant surprise as Tasker's sidekick and friend at the agency. The special effects in the film are first-rate. Whereas Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgment Day focused on morphing effects for its biggest thrills, the thrill to be found in Cameron's latest effort is the seamlessness of the final product—one (or at least one's eyes) has a hard time doubting a Harrier jet hovering over the streets of Miami or one of the bridges in the Florida Keys getting blown to pieces by some heat-seeking missiles. For sheer visual impact, True Lies is a non-stop thrill ride, once it is set in motion.The racism in the movie was remarked upon at the time, but not all reviewers chose to mention it. Entertainment Weekly covered the pushback the film received in a brief article in which Cameron denied (if somewhat unconvincingly) the charges of racism and sexism.
"No, there are is [sic] no truth to the True Lies 2 rumors. That will never happen. It won't happen primarily because of 9/11. Jim (Cameron) said to me that we can't ever make a comedy about terrorism again, or certainly we can't for the foreseeable future. To try to do a comedy around that kind of activity would be impossible today. And you couldn't make a movie like that today because the scope and size is so enormous. The cost and the budget would be so outrageous. And the truth of the matter is, Arnold and I are old. I mean, really old. You're not going to want to go watch a movie with these two old people. You might want to go see a movie with Elisha Dushku dancing around, though. But I don't think it's ever going to happen. In fact, I know it will never happen and it shouldn't happen."
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