Is it just me? Or does True Lies deserve more love?

In our regular polarising-opinion series, one Total Film writer argues that True Lies stands up there with the very best action films.

Read on, and let us know if you agree with the argument put forward by having your say in the comments section below.

Is it just me? … Or does True Lies deserve more love? asks Matt Looker

How is it that, if you ask someone to name as many Arnold Schwarzenegger films as they can, they’re more likely to mention Kindergarten Cop and JuniorJUNIOR – before they remember the incredible, hilarious, insanely high-budgeted True Lies? What have we become? What has society become? Whether you like it or not, True Lies is a big deal, and it acts like it. It’s a film with awesome stunts and a brilliantly funny script, starring one of the biggest stars in movie history and made by a director responsible for the top two most successful films of all time. How has it become so frequently overlooked?

As the first movie to have a budget of more than $100 million, and as one of the last over-the-top ’90s blockbusters made before ’plosions were replaced with pixels, every cent is on screen in the most wonderfully wasteful way. Just look at the outrageous climax, which sees Arnie pilot a Harrier Jump Jet (a real-life prop puppeteered by a crane) before torpedoing Art Malik’s baddie into oblivion. It’s a kind of blockbuster filmmaking that simply doesn’t happen these days. If the extended chase sequence where Arnie rides a horse through the streets and into a hotel lobby were made today, Schwarzenegger would be straddling a neighing Andy Serkis in a mo-cap suit, and James Cameron would add in bystanders, some brightly coloured plants and an underwater sequence at a later date.

But it’s not just stunts and dollar signs that make this such a momentous movie. The script serves up some terrific comedy characters, such as Arnie’s jaded partner Gibson (Tom Arnold) and horny slimeball Simon (Bill Paxton) – both of whom provide a wealth of snark and sniggers.

Even one of the film’s most memorable moments, a sexy, sultry striptease performed by Jamie Lee Curtis, is laced with LOLs – principally the bit where she slips off the bedpost and attempts a brief, uncoordinated bout of jiving. And, for all the entries in his comedy oeuvre, True Lies is the film that gives us Arnie’s funniest performance. Not only does he send up his own machismo, but his skilled deadpan delivery gives the lie to claims that the man can’t act.

While still quintessentially ’90s, the film is also clearly ahead of its time. The transparent Bond spoofing is sharply written, juxtaposing international espionage and dull domesticity with a wryness rare for the action genre. And with spy organisation Omega openly based on Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D, Charlton Heston’s eye-patched sector chief is really our first big-screen version of Nick Fury.

As far as I can see, the only reason that True Lies isn’t widely remembered is because it doesn’t have a franchise of disappointing sequels attached to its name (post-9/11, Cameron ditched plans for True Lies 2, stating that “terrorism just isn’t funny any more”). But, with action, comedy and adventure all near-perfect, True Lies should be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of T2, Aliens and Predator, or at the very least Speed... or is it just me?

Agree or disagree with Matt’s argument? Hit the comment section to air your view now!

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