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It is fitting that James Cameron would get around (sooner than later) to doing a James Bond spoof, since the creative corner into which he had painted himself is the same as that of the Bond films: the self-imposed obligation, the necessity, the pressure of "topping" whatever has come before. (Terminator 2, The Abyss, Aliens, in reverse chronology.) Whether or not this effort is successful on its own terms, or on the Bond films' terms, is a matter of taste. But the long detour into marital and domestic matters throughout the paunchy middle of the movie -- if not exactly "topping" what has come before, at least "stretching" beyond it, "expanding" it -- is a total disaster, starting with the top-billed actor. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the proverbial sore thumb, is not fit for much in the dramatic repertoire (the Terminator, sure; Conan, okay; Mickey Hargitay, perfect); and, if not unfitted here by his accent, he is surely unfitted by his physique for the role of a U.S. secret agent who for fifteen years has been passing himself off as a commonplace computer sales representative with a cozy home in the suburbs. He's additionally and painfully unfit for the cutesy comedy of fretting over his wayward teenager and the apparent infidelity of his wife. Not actual infidelity: Schwarzenegger's manly ego, never mind his acting abilities, will not countenance that. Jamie Lee Curtis, Tia Carrere, Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton. (1994) — Duncan Shepherd

Rated R


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