True Lies (1994)

trueliesStarring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton, Tia Carrere, Art Malik, Eliza Dushku, Grant Heslov, Charlton Heston, Marshall Manesh

Directed by James Cameron

Expectations: High. Haven’t since this in a long time.

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True Lies is an interesting entry in the Arnold filmography for me. It’s one that I watched a gazillion times on VHS in the ’90s, but since I hit adulthood I’ve never even had the urge to re-watch it. I would often think back fondly on it, but unlike something like Predator, where a primal “MUST WATCH” urge overtakes me every once in a while, I’ve never longed to see True Lies again. And now that I’ve re-watched it, why I felt this way about True Lies is readily apparent: I’ve already seen it too many times to truly enjoy it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Harry Tasker, an international spy working for the Omega Branch, an ultra-secret arm of the US government focused on counter-terrorism. His wife, Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis), is completely oblivious to this, firmly believing Harry’s cover-up story that all those late nights and weekend trips are diligently spent working at his computer sales job. Meanwhile, an Arab terrorist group called Crimson Jihad is up to no good, and before too long these three main components of the film all crash together with some big ol’ James Cameron action sequences.

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Underworld (1985)

Underworld (1985)
AKA Transmutations

Starring Denholm Elliott, Steven Berkoff, Larry Lamb, Nicola Cowper, Irina Brook, Art Malik, Brian Croucher, Ingrid Pitt, Trevor Thomas

Directed by George Pavlou

Expectations: Low.

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What do you get when you throw ’80s synth rock, drug-fiend mutants and horror God Clive Barker together with just a dash of black leather? You get the fairly poor and wholly underwhelming 1985 film, Underworld. There was so much potential here for a good film, but man did it all go to waste. It goes wrong mostly in the writing and the pacing, because above all Underworld is one hell of a boring movie.

It all starts out pretty interesting though. It’s incredibly hard to figure out what the hell is going on, which might be a bad thing for some movies, but it seems to add to the mystique here. There was enough fun and unintentional laughs during this getting-to-know-you period so I didn’t mind too much that I was lost. Anyway, there’s some sort of high-class party going on. A young girl in a white gown decides sleep is better than party and lays down in her bed. This is crosscut with scenes of some crazy rock ‘n’ roll leather-clad assholes, who you know are up to no good, running through the streets. They all wear wraps around their faces to give them some anonymity and the look of half-ass ninjas. So they bust into the estate, steal the girl from her bed, beat down the butler that tries to stop them and run off into the night.

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