The Arnold Schwarzenegger Remake That Is Getting Massacred By Audiences

CBS rebooted True Lies as a network procedural without any of the charm, action, or drama of the 90s action classic and it is already being slammed by critics.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

Arnold Schwarzenegger True Lies
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies

Hollywood is going through a crisis with no easy solution, as every original movie or show has already been made. We’re left with remakes, reboots, spin-offs, and additions to well-established franchises exploring the secret origin of that guy from that one scene. The latest example is CBS attempting to reboot the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Jamie Lee Curtis classic True Lies, one of the best action films of the 90s, as a soulless, heartless procedural that fell flat on its face right out of the gate.

Replacing two of the biggest stars in Hollywood are Steve Howey (Supercross) and Ginger Gonzaga (She-Hulk: Attorney at Law), given the impossible task of replicating the incredible chemistry from the original film. A strange decision to fast-forward through the movie’s plot in the first episode cuts off the two right from the start. Instead of spending a season with Gonzaga’s Helen Tasker wondering what her husband was up to, she’s immediately thrown into the world of superspies.

Critics on Rotten Tomatoes point out this choice, which immediately makes True Lies a by-the-numbers spy procedural with less nuance than Covert Affairs. With a rotten score of 10 percent and only a 50 percent audience score, the latest reboot isn’t succeeding at anything it’s attempting to do. Did the world really need another network procedural that’s light and breezy, bloodless, and sexless when the very concept has been drilled into the ground before the first episode even airs?

There’s no room for True Lies in a world with Mr. and Mrs. Smith and The Americans, both of which took the spy couple concept in new directions. Tom Arnold appears at some point, but he’s the only original actor from the James Cameron classic that’ll show up, and he’s arguably the most forgettable part of the film. Bringing back Elizha Dushku as the grown-up Dana Tasker hiding the fact she took her dad’s job would have been a fun direction to go, but even the audience reviews are questioning why such a by-the-numbers show was even greenlit.

A merciless audience review says, “horrible…just horrible.” Another analyzes the level of acting, “Its like the show is made by people just trying to get to the end of the scene and go home.” Sure, it can be argued that the low sample size is weighing the reviews, both from critics and the audience, but it’s very rare for anything in the world of entertainment to recover from an immediate universal drubbing.

Steve Howey and Ginger Gonzaga in True Lies

There is a very small chance that maybe a future guest star or plot pivot later in the season can help recover the slide. Some shows have started weak, such as Parks and Recreation or NCIS, before finding their stride in later seasons. In today’s climate, with completed shows and films being canceled instead of airing, True Lies will likely not have the opportunity to recover.

A recent example of how to adapt a film to a network show is The Equalizer starring Queen Latifah. Based on the same novels as the Denzel Washington franchise, the show is an enjoyable romp carried by the charisma of its lead. If True Lies starred anyone else except for the guy from a Fast and Furious knock-off and She-Hulk‘s best friend, maybe the material could be elevated, such as The Blacklist and James Spader’s amazing work as Red Reddington.

If True Lies is to be canceled, here’s hoping that CBS holds out until we see Matthew Lillard and Keith David as guest stars. The morbidly curious can check out the show on CBS every Wednesday or streaming on Paramount+.