THE NEW ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER epic, “True Lies,” is a summer popcorn picture, plain and simple. It’s not the sort of flick you’d spend time philosophizing about, lest your friends think you have nothing more portentous to discuss.
Here’s the rub: People are discussing “True Lies.” In fact, they’re arguing about it. Even within the Variety family, the sides are fiercely drawn — some loved the film, others disdained it, but everyone is adamant about their position. In the interest of full disclosure, let it be stated herewith that Brian Lowry, our able critic who reviewed the movie, didn’t care for it much. I liked it a lot.
It’s not unusual for people to disagree about a new film; what’s unusual is for a summer action film to stir up this sort of debate. What’s all the noise about?
THE PROBLEM SEEMS TO BE that “True Lies,” while devoid of intellectual pretensions, inadvertently hits a surprising number of hot buttons. James Cameron, the director, loves to design numbingly complex set pieces, but amidst all the mayhem, he also trips over some controversial issues of the day.
The critics may argue back and forth, but as any distribution maven will tell you, summer action flicks tend to be critic-proof. The real question will be whether audiences argue as vehemently as the critics, and whether this will help the box office or scare people away.
As for me, I think it will help. In the end, “True Lies” is a helluva lot of fun. Besides, as Schwarzenegger reminds us, the $100 million is coming out of Rupert Murdoch’s budget, not mine.