It probably goes without saying that I love 'True Lies'. Love love love love love. Whenever a James Cameron discussion breaks out -- which is surprisingly often in my social circles -- I am as likely to bring up 'True Lies' as an example of his directorial mastery as anything else, including 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' (one of my favorite films of all time) and 'Avatar'. I actually think 'True Lies'' canny mix of humor, over-the-top superspy action, and genuine suspense was in many ways a more difficult assignment than T2's relentlessness and 'Avatar''s digital wizardry (putting aside the purely technological challenges of the latter). These days, it is probably the movie most likely to stay my hand when I am flipping channels.

There has, of course, been talk of a sequel almost since the original film premiered 16 years ago (?!). (Here's an article from back in 1999, shortly after 'Titanic'.) Much to Tom Arnold's chagrin, nothing came of it. But far from being dead, the would-be franchise is about to be resurrected as a television show, with Cameron as producer. No cast has been announced yet, though the project has a showrunner in the form of TV vet Rene Echevarria. Echevarria also worked on Cameron's only previous small-screen foray 'Dark Angel', which lasted two seasons and, you may recall, gave the world Jessica Alba.*

The linked Deadline article doesn't have much detail, though it does suggest that the show will be a redo rather than a continuation. That makes sense; it's not like there were a ton of interesting plot threads to spin out or tie up. I'm intrigued by the project, but not sold, exactly. 'True Lies' doesn't immediately strike me as readily convertible into longform storytelling. Its pleasures were in the pacing, the chemistry of the cast, and James Cameron's ability to end an action scene with a horse in a hotel elevator without making the movie look ridiculous. ("Okay, make it quick, my horse is getting tired" is a classic Arnie line.) That stuff won't straightforwardly translate. At the very least, it'll take some work.

Thoughts? Does 'True Lies' stand a chance in prime time?

* Not quite true -- she was around doing guest spots and small supporting roles for a few years before that -- but it certainly brought her into the spotlight.

categories Features, Cinematical