True Lies is criminally underrated, has never been on Blu-ray, and given how many Arnold movie quotes I hear within my circle of friends, James Cameron’s 1994 classic doesn’t get brought up nearly enough. Let’s change that.
The world, can, will and must come around on True Lies, and we’re going to do our part to make that happen right goddamn now. We’re going to be watching it LIVE with all of you this Monday at 3PM Pacific as part of our Monday Night Movie, so to get you geared up, and ripping off the GIF-tastic feature Brett did on Transformers: The Movie, we’ve prepared a little primer for you that thankfully requires almost no reading! Whip out that standard-definition DVD ASAP, because we’re going to get this film relegated to CLASSIC status starting right fucking now.
1. ARNOLD SCWARTZENEGGER: MASTER OF DISGUISE
I think I could go out on a limb and declare Harry Tasker is Arnold’s greatest role ever. Sure, he’s starred in films that are much more famous, two of which also directed by James Cameron, but since he’s not a monotone killbot here, it leave plenty of room for nuance and humor in True Lies.
2. REAL EXPLOSIONS
Even though James Cameron had pioneered the use of CG in his previous film, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, the man still concocts some of the biggest IRL detonations ever seen on film in True Lies. And this is just the opening!
3. SKI MERCS
Does your favorite movie have Ski Mercs with fully automatic assault weapons? No? Then it’s probably not as good as True Lies. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
4. THE MOVIE IS MORE VIOLENT THAN YOU REMEMBER
For some reason, some of our brains (totally) recall True Lies being somewhat family friendly. Perhaps that’s just the perspective of a desensitized American, but yeah, the movie does sport a body count of 90 people. As long as you can get past the fact that it consists of mostly antiquated Arab terrorist stereotypes, you’re gonna have a great time.
5. OH, DID YOU FORGET TRUE LIES FEATURES CHARLTON HESTON IN AN EYE PATCH?!
If that weren’t wonderful enough in and of itself, his first line is an extremely Heston-y “Sweet Jesus!” all while looking like the original Nick Fucking Fury.
6. A KILLER BATHROOM SEQUENCE I WON’T SPOIL
But I leave you with one of the best “unwitting old guy taking a dump” reaction shots in recorded history.
7. BILL PAXTON’S GOT A LITTLE DICK, IT’S PATHETIC
Combining Bill Paxton with James Cameron has historically been a great recipe for a catchphrase souffle (9 out of 10 of your favorite Aliens quotes are probably from Hudson.) True Lies is no exception, and Bill Paxton’s sleazy, adulterous performance is enough to make you stand up and beg for buttermilk! Long time Laser Time Podcast listeners will recognize these quotes, but for everyone else who’s wandered in here, rest assured Paxton’s got an ass like a ten year old boy!
8. TOM ARNOLD IS ACTUALLY FUNNY
If you aren’t game to see Tom Arnold in any movie, you are not alone. Studio executives didn’t want him in True Lies at all, but James Cameron went to bat for Tom, allegedly refusing to move forward with the project if he wasn’t signed. I’m as shocked as you are.
9. POSSIBLY THE GREATEST NUT SHOT OF ALL-TIME
In an Idiocracy-esque future, racking your sack on a Harrier jet would basically be Ow, My Balls’ Super Bowl. The whole jet sequence is still a fucking site to behold, yet reportedly dangerous enough to submit the actors to 100 degree heat for hours on end and even broke the ribs of a young Eliza Dushku, who plays Arnold’s daguhter.
10. POSSIBLY THE GREATEST CAR/HELICOPTER CHASE OF ALL-TIME
There are undoubtedly CG touchups throughout True Lies (note Curtis’ legs cutting through the roof up there), but I’m not sure I’ve seen we’ve seen this many outlandish practical, in-camera stunt effects in any movie before or since. The bridge sequence is literally Cameron destroying a miles-long Florida structure destined for demolition, and there’s enough real fire in the film to make a blind man see.
11. POSSIBLY THE GREATEST HORSE/MOTORCYCLE CHASE OF ALL-TIME
The undeniable clout Cameron had coming off of Terminator 2 allowed him to shoot some of the most wildly absurd, high concept action sequences you’ve ever seen. Without a lot of digital effects in 1994, many of True Lies sequences still come off as outrageously expensive, and better still, remain absolutely jaw-dropping to this day. Such as this needlessly gorgeous sequence that almost tosses a horse off the roof of a Marriott Suites!
12. DEFINITELY THE GREATEST VILLAIN DEATH OF ALL-TIME
Some movie villains fall to their death offscreen. Others fall victim to their own hubris. Art Malik gets caught on a fucking missile that’s then fired through a skyscraper and into a helicopter containing his own crew. If I were to describe this scene to you with the bare minimum of detail, you’d likely tell me it was unfilmable. Yet here it is. God, you were so wrong!
13. YOU DIDN’T THINK I WAS GOING TO DENY YOU A NEARLY NUDE JAMIE LEE CURTIS, DID YOU?!
For many young boys my age, this could be the most memorable scene in the entire movie. I assure you its a lot less creepy once you can remember that the exploitation is occurring between a husband and wife.
Once again, be sure to head back here to watch True Lies with us Monday at 3PM Pacific. After that, grab the commentary at your leisure off of our Bandcamp, and of course it’s FREE* for Laser Time Patrons in addition to many other commentaries and exclusive podcasts.
And FYI: True Lies is not available NOT available digitally for rental or purchase, nor does any Blu-ray currently exist. Your only options are the standalone True Lies DVD, in this Arnold Triple-Pack (that also includes Predator and Commando), or piracy. Get on it, Laser Timers!
For more GIF-happy articles check out our piece on the Transformers: The Movie 30th Anniversary, 7 Classic Cartoons Recreated on PlayStation 1, and maybe even 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Roger Rabbit.