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Harry Tasker (Ah-Nuld) is a family man, aptly loved by his wife and young rebellious daughter (the now smokin’ hot Eliza Dushku). He has quite the life; a large house (a large mortgage), a well-paying nine-to-five job as a computer technology sales representative- and he even has a little Chihuahua.

True Lies
However, as modest as Harry’s life seems, he does have his dirty little secret. However, this one isn’t so little. Harry is a secret agent with the Omega Sector, the American Nations’ last line of defense. Thing is, his wife Helen (Curtis) doesn’t know about this secret double-life that takes up so much of Harry’s time, even after some odd 15 years of marriage. To put it simply, the computer salesman collides head on with the secret agent and chaos ensues. Mix in Helen’s temper, coupled with some Arabic terrorists attempting to blow up major US cities with nuclear weapons and you’ve got yourself one wacky episode of “The Honeymooners”.

Praise James Cameron, though. Do you remember what happened the last time a high-profile, blockbuster director attempted to make a comedic epic? Well, in 1979, a man named Spielberg directed a film titled 1941. Then, in 2001, Michael Bay directed Pearl Harbor. Wait...

Well, just keep in mind the type of disasters that can occur when you mix blockbuster with comedy.

Luckily for all involved with True Lies, Cameron managed to pump out quite the ride, albeit a sexist one (I’m not the first to notice the almost constant barrage of insults directed towards woman, especially the use of the word bitch when describing them). This mentality is an obvious theme in the film because all of the male characters insult, manipulate, or abuse a woman at least once through the movie’s running time.

I'm not quite sure how he does it, but Cameron brings out the best in good old Arnold, who himself manages to turn a performance with a comparable level of believability. Much is also to be said about Tom Arnold, who is in my opinion a fine comic talent; he practically steals the show and if I'm not mistaken, Arnold plays off of some of his fine wit, because the Terminator is quite humorous here himself.

Oh, and any film with Charleton Heston talking about wind getting “blown up his skirt” is worth the price of admission alone.

True Lies
Video
This is a bare-bones release from 20th Century Fox, just a simple back-catalogue title. Presented in 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen, True Lies comes off as a little rushed.  Strangely enough, this DVD is THX certified. I can’t see why, at least not on the video side of things, seeing as this is really a sub-par transfer.

From the opening credits, the excessive and overly abundant amount of edge-enhancement rears its ugly head, as does the considerable amount of grain this picture is riddled with. James Cameron can make a slick looking film, and True Lies is just that, but this picture wouldn’t lead you to believe that. Thanks to the lack of Anamorphic enhancement, moiré effects are noticeable constantly and are rather distracting. Unnerving, really.

Audio
This area of the DVD makes this reviewer happier, but not much. After all, this is a THX certified disc. True Lies is presented with an adequate, if underwhelming, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Soundtrack. It’s not a bad track, but it’s not going to make the cat blow up like the 5.1 mixes for Black Hawk Down or The Matrix.

Surround use is okay, with composer Brad Fiedel’s score getting a lot of attention. A nice highlight is the scene with the Harrier Jet. Not bad stuff, not a bad mix; it just doesn’t seem as though any time was spent to make it especially excellent. Like I said, this is just a catalogue title.

Also supplied are English and French 2.0 Dolby Digital Sound mixes.

Extras
Firstly, it’s “extra”, not “extras”.  All we get here is a full-frame theatrical trailer for True Lies with an English 2.0 Dolby Digital mix. Well, technically, it’s not full-frame because James Cameron uses a Super-35 negative for all of his films- I guess that is some sort of small consolation for us technophiles out there.

True Lies
Overall
True Lies is a great ride, a real clever mix of humor and action, even a little bit of drama for good measure. Suffice it to say, had this film been directed by anyone else other than Cameron, it would have suffered. Even though he has only directed seven features to date (does Piranha II even count?), Cameron has shown himself to be a true master of the medium we hold so near and dear.

The oft-rumored True Lies: Five Star Collection is still in the works, apparently wading around in some limbo that’s keeping it from being released in timely fashion. And True Lies 2 is coming in 2003, so there is some hope for the Tasker family yet.

If you’re a huge Cameron fan, go and buy the disc. If you already own it, just keep waiting for the double-dip, or just keep holding your breath for the Special Edition. I know we double-dippers are already turning blue.


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