A remake of the french film, La Totale, this spectacular action film directed by James Cameron (Titanic, Aliens, Terminator 1 & 2) involves an international spy who shields his true identity from the public, even his wife and daughter. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays secret government agent Harry Tasker; a well-trained operative who shields his activity with a doctored occupation in computer sales. Jamie Lee Curtis (Trading Places, A Fish Called Wanda) also stars as Harry wife, Helen, with Eliza Dushku (Bring It On, TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) playing the role of Harry’s daughter, Dana.
Harry’s obnoxious, but likeable, partner, Albert Gibson, is well played by Tom Arnold (probably his best role ever). Harry and Albert represent the ideal protagonist/comic relief buddy pairing that has unfortunately decreased in effectiveness in Schwarznegger’s more recent movies like The Sixth Day and Jingle All the Way. Albert’s frank discussions and comic observations mix well with Harry’s no nonsense tactics.
Charlton Heston heads up the government agency, Omega Sector, as Harry’s superior, Spencer Trilby. The chief terrorist antagonist, Salim Abu Aziz, played by Art Malik (The Living Daylights, A Passage to India), is investigated by Harry throughout the film which produces some of the best chase sequences presented on film. A beautiful art dealer named Juno Skinner, played by Tia Carrere, also factors into the exciting plot.
The plot follows a fairly standard action/espionage set up until Harry discovers Helen’s involvement with a mysterious character named Simon, well played Bill Paxton (Vertical Limit, Twister, Titanic). This sequence adds some drama and develops the characters a bit. This plotline puts Helen right by Harry’s side as they battle terrorist foes to prevent planned attacks on U.S. soil.
As usual, Cameron does a great job directing, but his use of blue lighting that was so effective in his metallic masterpiece, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, really seems out-of-place in this film. Cameron continues his traditional and admirable involvement in films with high-profile female characters as Helen stays actively involved within the action filled plot.
Logistical problems such as a lack of explanation of Dana’s status when her parents are away (assume she’s old enough to take care of herself) and how certain weapons could possibly be placed into certain materials.
This nice mix of action, comedy, romance and thrills produce a quality piece of visual entertainment for a wide audience. Make sure to watch the ending credits for some bonus comedy comments from Arnold’s character, Albert. This movie comes recommended and is rated PG-13.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler