It has been 13 years since news first broke of a possible television adaptation of True Lies, James Cameron’s 1994 action-comedy blockbuster.
That film, about a secret agent who accidentally ropes his unassuming wife into his secret identity thereby spicing up their stuck-in-a-rut marriage, is a bombastic and exhilarating take on the spy genre, led by two committed performances from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis.
At its best, it defined ’90s sex appeal, and at its worst, it had some very off-color jokes and plotlines about religious extremism and terrorism. There was plenty to be corrected for a different era and new audiences.
But after more than a decade of anticipation, the serialized True Lies remake arrives sans any high or low points. Instead, this new mission has been dumped on our doorstep with all of its edges smoothed out into one impossibly tedious block of pure, televised lead.
The series, which premieres Mar. 1 on CBS, certainly has enough going for it. Its cast is competent enough, and its effects team is game to amp up the hokey, hyper-technological concept of spies that we rarely see anymore in the age of Daniel Craig’s stonefaced James Bond. Yet, somehow, the spark remains entirely unlit.