True Lies: The Last Of The Action Hero

True Lies

True Lies: The Last Of The Action Hero

Arnold Schwarzenegger was at the top of his game by the mid Nineties. Established as one of the biggest names in the action genre, it looked like there was no stopping him after the huge success that was Terminator 2: Judgement Day. However, not long after there was a film that slightly derailed his winning streak; The Last Action Hero.

In his mid-Forties by this point, it could be said that Schwarzenegger was looking to capitalise on his success in films like Twins and Kindergarten Cop as a way to continue his career but without doing something that was completely out of character. Interested by the script which seemed to be tailor made for him, Schwarzenegger took up the project and the fourth wall breaking action comedy was released – and it bombed. However, Schwarzenegger’s next project would be something different and the mixture of action and comedy would be a much better fit. After all, Schwarzenegger would be once again working with the one director that made the best of him on the silver screen. James Cameron.



True Lies
True Lies

Arnie plays Harry Tasker, a secret agent working for Omega Sector, a secret organisation that frequently helped save the world from the most dangerous people who were determined to ruin the lives of the American people. Along with his team, Albert Gibson (Tom Arnold) and Faisil (Grant Heslov), Harry travelled the world working to foil the most nefarious plans of the world’s terrorists. However, Harry has another life and one that is quite different than that of a super spy. Harry is happily married to Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) and they have a teenage daughter Dana (Eliza Dushku). Life is like any other suburban household – or at least that’s what Harry thinks.

The truth is that Helen has been secretly talking to a man called Simon (Bill Paxton) who says that he is a secret agent. Naturally Helen is enthralled by the mysterious man and feels that she’s finally getting the excitement she craves in her life that her computer salesman husband can’t give her. How is it that the Taskers know so little about each other’s secret lives? Dana is also stealing money from her father and has a boyfriend who drives a motorcycle. Typical Teenager.

True Lies
True Lies

After the box office failure that was The Last Action Hero, not many thought Schwarzenegger would try to lampoon his career once again so it goes to show that to get things right, it’s all about the execution. True Lies is the action movie parody that goes beyond parody and just turns out to be a great action movie. All the elements are just right and where the jokes in The Last Action Hero may have felt a little too self-aware, True Lies sets the scene and makes the audience laugh through its increasingly outlandish settings and the cast’s terrific performances. However, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comedy homage to the genre that made his career would be nothing without Tom Arnold’s frustrated sidekick, Art Malik’s comedy terrorist and Jamie Lee Curtis as his most unlikely on-screen partner. Bill Paxton also gives a near unrecognisable performance as the slimy Simon and Tia Carrere gets the best out of a role which could have been generic in any other spy thriller.

True Lies
True Lies

What makes True Lies work so well is putting Schwarzenegger in his usual action role but giving it a spin. Instead of the sweaty, gun totting explosives expert that he usually portrays (however, that does come later), the audience sees Arnie in an entirely new way as a suave, tuxedo wearing man of mystery. The Austrian former bodybuilding champion sticks out like a sore thumb and is the last person any secret organisation would send on a covert operation and the movie is entirely aware of how unsuitable Schwarzenegger is for the role. Also, when it is revealed that Harry has a family in the suburbs, the audience finds this equally unbelievable and this helps set the tone for the film, further adding to the farcical nature of Arnie’s career where he’s played anything from a construction worker to a Kindergarten teacher.

True Lies felt like a turning point in his career and as much as the script sent out one joke after another, the escalating preposterousness of the action set pieces revealed the action genre’s increasingly silly nature. However, these days it seems the irony of an action movie that defies the laws of physics is all but lost on a modern audience. Giving Schwarzenegger the perfect send off from the action genre, True Lies couldn’t have been better as it reminded audiences that Arnie could be funny as well as a role model for the testosterone filled, adrenaline junkies that were his fanbase. Also, there were a couple of family friendly comedies (Junior and Jingle All the Way) on the horizon so for Schwarzenegger, the timing couldn’t be better.

However, it was never meant to be. Schwarzenegger’s career ended up taking a steadily declining nosedive as both his comedy projects barely made any money at the box office. Arnie’s career would never be the same again and his attempts at rejuvenating his action career never came anywhere close to the success he had before. Although for his final hurrah, at least True Lies gave us the last and the best of the action hero.


We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.


Trending on BRWC:

R.I.P.D 2 Rise of the Damned: The BRWC Review

By Matt Conway / 16th November 2022 / 5 Comments

A Christmas Karen: Review

By Joel Fisher / 21st November 2022
The Willowbrook: Review

The Willowbrook: Review

By Joel Fisher / 7th November 2022

Triangle Of Sadness: The BRWC Review

By Matt Conway / 4th November 2022
The Killing Tree: Review

The Killing Tree: Review

By Joel Fisher / 1st November 2022

Cool Posts From Around the Web:



Joel found out that he had a talent for absorbing film trivia at a young age. Ever since then he has probably watched more films than the average human being, not because he has no filter but because it’s one of the most enjoyable, fulfilling and enriching experiences that a person can have. He also has a weak spot for bad sci-fi/horror movies because he is a huge geek and doesn’t care who knows it.