True Lies is a fast moving satire of every action/adventure movie you've ever seen. No expense was spared to produce the spectacular special effects. Although there are countless scenes containing violence, they are not performed realistically, but tongue-in-cheek, almost cartoon style. Harry Tasker leads a double life. To all outward appearances he's a rather dull businessman, living an ordinary middle-class existence in suburban Washington D.C. with his wife Helen and his daughter, Dana. In reality, he is Harry Renquist, a Rambo-style spy for the U.S. government's ultra secretive Omega Sector, whose motto is "The Last Line of Defense". At the moment, Harry and his partner, Gib, are trying to prevent Mideastern terrorists from smuggling nuclear warheads into the U.S. Harry's wife and daughter haven't the slightest clue as to what Harry really does. In a humorous sub-plot,, a bored and neglected Helen becomes involved with a smarmy used-car salesman, who passes himself off as a super spy. His real motive is to seduce her. In an effort to add some spice to the still faithful Helen's life, Harry secretly arranges for Helen to go on a phony assignment as a spy. Unfortunately, the real terrorists intervene and Helen is taken hostage. Before the final reel , even Harry's daughter is caught up in the action until Dad saves the day for his family and country.
- Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Arnold, and Jamie Lee Curtis
- Director(s): James Cameron
- Producer(s): James Cameron
- Screenwriter(s): Claude Zidi, Simon Michael
- Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
- Release Date: Monday, June 13, 1994
- Rating: Acceptable
Featured Animal Action
It's a chilly winter night in Switzerland and guard dogs on leash patrol the grounds of a luxurious estate as Harry sneaks onto the grounds. When Harry attempts his escape, two of the dogs give chase and charge at him. He turns quickly and picks both of the dogs up at one time, banging their heads together and throwing them to the ground. This scene was shot in cuts, using two real dogs and two rubber puppet dogs. The real dogs were released by handlers at point A and the dogs ran to two other handlers who were calling to them at point B. The dogs would also chase balls or Frisbees that were thrown, with food as their reward. The dogs also jumped over a camera that was set on the ground to get shots of the dogs leaping. The two dogs that were picked up, banged together and then were tossed to the ground, were the rubber puppet dogs. These scenes were monitored by the Potter League for Animals in Newport, Rhode Island who spoke very positively about the care and concern the trainers gave their animals during the extremely cold weather. Harry's daughter Dana has a pet Chihuahua that is present in several scenes. In one of those scenes, Harry takes the dog for a walk in the rain. Harry yanks at the leash, lifting the dog slightly off the ground. The rain was man-made and was turned on and off at will. The dog was dried off with a towel and warmed and rested between takes. The scene was to derive some humor from the small dog resisting the massive and muscular star. After the first few takes, the dog walked eagerly without resisting so the actor jerked harder on the leash, lifting the dog. The rep on set voiced her concerns, and the director canceled any additional filming with the dog in this scene. One of the most bizarre chase scenes ever recorded on film, occurs when the chief terrorist villain is fleeing on a motorcycle and Harry requisitions a horse, by pulling a policeman off his mount. He then chases the villain through the streets of Washington, DC galloping through a park where he jumps over a couple of park benches and ;then through city traffic into a posh hotel lobby, with the villain on his motorcycle preceding Harry the entire way. Harry jumps his mount over potted plants and through a fountain in the lobby, past hotel guests and through a much surprised, tuxedo-clad jazz quartet. He continues to chase the motorcycle down the hotel corridors. The desperate terrorist rides his motorcycle into a scenic elevator that rises on the outside of the building and he takes it to the roof. Not to be deterred, Harry rides his mount into the adjoining scenic elevator which is already occupied by a somewhat chagrined elderly couple who are dressed in formal attire. The glass elevator can be seen rising to the top of the building. It's cramped quarters and the couple try to tactfully avoid the horse's flicking tail. When he reaches the roof, the desperate terrorist guns his motorcycle jumping across the rooftop and into a pool on a rooftop, about sixty feet below. Not to be deterred, Harry wheels his mount and charges across the roof. As they approach the edge, the horse shows better sense than Harry and stops abruptly. Harry sails right over the horse's head and over the side of the roof, still holding onto the reins. Talking to the horse and clutching the reins, he gets the horse to back up and pull him back onto the rooftop. This scene was shot in many cuts in various locations, both in Washington, DC and Southern California. Two horses were used to portray one so they could be rotated and rested. A stuntman skilled with horses was a photo double for the actor in many shots. Trained jumping horses were used and they were well rehearsed prior to the filming and all stunts were carefully planned and prepared in advance. All vehicles near the horses were driven by experienced stunt people and traffic was controlled by the police who blocked streets from public traffic. The horses were shod with appropriate shoes for the various surfaces to be traveled. Stunt people were used as extras whenever they were in close proximity to the horses. A stuntman was used as a musician so that he could take the drums and cymbals out of the horse's path. The horse and motorcycle were filmed separately. For the elevator scene, both a real and fake horse and a real and fake elevator were used. An establishing shot was filmed of the real horse going into the real elevator. The balance of the interior elevator filming was done on a sound stage with a mock-up of the real glass elevator. It was large enough for the horse and rider, plus two actors. The elderly couple were experienced horse people. A screen behind the mock elevator projected images of the outside of the building to create the illusion that the elevator was moving. When the horse turned, two people off camera were guiding him by the bridal. For some of the interior elevator shots, the mechanical horse was a stand-in for the real horse. For the exterior shots of the horse going up in the elevator, the mechanical horse was used. The rooftop scenes with the horse were filmed in cuts on a sound stage. The actor rode the horse out of the fake elevator to the edge of the roof. A ramp was built (out of camera view) around the edge of the roof in the event the horse went too far. For the shot where Harry rode to the edge of the roof and the horse stopped abrubtly, a stunt double rode the horse. When Harry flew over the horse's head and over the side of the building, both a stunt double and a mechanical horse were used. When the horse backed up pulling Harry to safety, the actor was rigged to an unseen cable which actually pulled him back onto the roof. The horse backed up in response to his trainer's cues. The only mishap occured when the horse was running in the park. He slipped and fell, but was unharmed. There is one final piece of animal action which takes place during the exciting climax of the film. As some of the terrorists are fleeing in a van across a bridge , the front section of the van goes over a blown out section of the bridge, and teeters precariously above the ocean far below. The balance is so precarious that the terrorists are afraid to move. As they sit petrified, a pelican lands on the hood of the truck, causing an imbalance and the truck falls off the edge of the bridge as the pelican flies away. This scene was filmed in cuts. The close up portion of the scene which used the pelican was filmed on a sound stage with the views of the ocean and sky projected on a screen behind the van. The van was secured at a height of 12 feet off the floor. The pelican was outfitted with a safety harness attached to monofilament line which one of the trainers handled and which guided the pelican from point A to point B. There was also a safety net under the area where the pelican was working.