Cinerama: True Lies

Posted: September 12, 2009 in Cinerama

True Lies

By Mike Derderian

A week has passed and I’m still lingering on the same planet we call earth, which according to Cinerama terminology is a blue and green small planet inhabited by dumb little creatures. Those pink-skinned creatures are called humans and they believe that just because they went up and down to the moon they own the universe.

I was riding my camel and on my way to my work place… wait, I know what you are thinking, but my camel Reggie is a very unusual camel. He has a CD changer, a cup holder and a speedometer plus a license plate that bluntly reads, T-errorist. Speaking of terrorists and weapons of mass destruction, like the ones they never found in Iraq, I strongly believe that George Bush should’ve made his last year’s campaign slogan the following: Trial and error is the best way to nail it, but this time I know what I’m doing.

Now, since the “You are either with us or against us” phrase is getting old, I suggest that Bush barrows his next motto from the title of U2’s hit classic With Our Without You. Leafing through the pages of a “book” entitled History, you’ll discover that Julius Cesar upon learning that the Senate of Rome wanted him to relinquish his command, he sent a letter that stated, “I came, I saw and I conquered.”

Bush wanted to follow in the footsteps of Cesar and he probably intended to recite the same lines to his people and congress when he “courageously” dethroned Saddam Hussein and got a hold of Iraq, but to his disappointment all he said was: “I came, I did not find a thing and I’m stuck… O Blair where art thou?”

Un-true lies about Arabs is what they have been feeding to the world in the past four years but that’s the way bias media operates; and in the same context, a very prejudice film like James Cameron’s 1994 True Lies, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Bill Baxton, Tia Carrere, Grant Heslov and Art Malik, as Salim Abu Aziz, an Arab terrorist, who happens to speak English in an Indian accent. Go figure! Veteran actor Charlton Heston has a minor role as the head of Omega—a secret agency.

True Lies is a hundred percent Cameron moniker—great visual effects, colossal settings, funny punch lines and good acting on part of Arnie—but it sadly brands us Arabs as nothing more then fanatic and psychotic-ruthless killers, who are planning to nuke the entire world on the first chance they can get a hold of a nuclear war head. So it wouldn’t be surprising if the United Nations ordered all Arab countries to scrap chemistry and physics from their school curricula—a young Arab Einstein or Von Brown, imagine the consequences!

Yes, you’ve guessed right, it has a crappy plot, but still the storyline holds well thanks to Cameron’s directorial knack for details. In the opening scene we get to meet Harry Tasker (Schwarzenegger), a suave 007-like secret agent, and his backup team, Albert Gibson (Arnold) and Faisal (Heslov).

On its release at a theatre in Washington, DC, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee held a protest and attacked the film for its “depiction of Middle Easterners as homicidal religious zealots.” So it wasn’t much of a surprise when Arab countries boycotted the film. Overall, it was banned in fifty-four countries, so you might wonder how I got to watch it back in 1994. Thanks to the Crimson Pirate, I did.

Tasker and his team are trying to infiltrate a mansion in an Eastern European country and download some secret files that belong to… a terrorist. The sequence is quite entertaining and action packed even though I find it hard to believe that a man can single handedly beat two security Doberman dogs; then again, we are talking about a film, aren’t we?

But wait, the plot thickens, for we also get to meet the seductive femme fatal Juno Skinner (Tia Carrere at her best and most alluring) and this is where the whole scene becomes a James Bond spin-off, when she and Tasker perform a very alluring tango dance without the usual Bond “shaken-not-stirred” pickup line. Imagine Arnold saying, “I’ll be back to get my Vodka, remember I want it shaken but not stirred.” It just doesn’t fit.

True Lies, on another level, can be re-dubbed My Life With a Secret Agent as the film sheds light on Tasker’s marital life by introducing one of the film’s funniest characters, Helen Tasker—enacted by Jamie Lee Curtis.

If you think that Tom Arnold’s antics in this film are funny, Curtis’ performance was by far funnier and more demanding on the physical level. She brilliantly showed us how an ordinary housewife and a mother of a spoiled teenage girl (Eliza Dushku), who believes that she is married to a salesman, can become a lean mean bad-guy fighting machine.

Tasker finds himself in a dilemma: He has to face and foil Salim Abu Aziz’s (Malik) plans to nuke an entire American state and to repair his marriage plus save his wife from the clutches of a dumb womanizer called Simon (Paxton), who is masquerading as a secret agent to impress women. The cast did a great job in adding to the film’s no-stop action. There isn’t a moment of boredom in this seat-warmer; however, if you are an Arab you will get offended by its context.

True Lies is great film on an action level scale, but politically speaking it is nothing but a heap of trash comprising of distorted fiction resulting from the Hollywood need for a new blood of international antagonists—currently occupied by Arabs.

Must-see-scenes: Hotel Lobby chase scene; the Harrier assault on terrorist hideout in which Arnie beats the baddies; Jamie Lee Curtis’ funny striptease performance; and most of the scenes where Simon appears.


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