La Totale!

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La Totale!
Directed by Claude Zidi
Produced by Jean-Louis Livi
Written by Claude Zidi
Simon Michaël
Didier Kaminka
Starring Thierry Lhermitte
Eddy Mitchell
Michel Boujenah
Music by Vladimir Cosma
Release dates 18 December 1991
Running time 102 minutes
Country France
Language French

La Totale ! is a 1991 French comedy film directed by Claude Zidi. The original film was the basis for director James Cameron's 1994 action comedy True Lies, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis and Tom Arnold.


Everyone thinks that François Voisin is an employee in telecommunications with a calm and orderly life, but this is only a front. In reality, François is a secret agent, one of the best. In the game he is nicknamed l'Épée, "the Sword". The storyline is based on the idea that François has hidden his true work from his wife throughout their marriage.

In the beginning of the film, François is coming home on the day of his fortieth birthday for which his wife has secretly prepared a surprise party with a number of his old friends with which he used to fence. He then gets called back by his colleague (Albert) who also works as a spy for a mission involving planting a microphone in a smuggler's car. After an unpredicted departure on behalf of the target, he succeeds in planting the microphone and escaping the henchmen trying to catch him.

As he arrives home, his friends have a go at his "boring" life working in telecommunications seeing as he could aspire to so much more. The planted microphone lead the secret service to a Call Girl, after infiltrating her flat and planting a camera, they discover she is serving as a front for a missiles expert and the arms smuggler to meet. They then manage to intercept a missile convoy in Italy which they blow up. Meanwhile, François' wife Hélène is living a monotonous life, married to a man with a fairly non-exciting job.

She then meets Simon, who pretends to be a secret agent whilst in reality he's only a car dealer living in a caravan. François discovers Hélène is meeting someone in secrecy and believes she is cheating. He therefore uses the agency's capacities in order to spy on his wife and find out who this Simon really is. When Simon lures Hélène to his caravan, François kidnaps both of them. He makes her wife believe Simon was a terrorist and then turns things around for his wife by making her believe she has to work for the agency in order for her freedom. She is unaware François is behind this, and gets sent to a hotel room for a mission where he plans on surprising her by being there. At this point, they both get kidnapped by henchmen of the arms dealer. After François admits to his wife his true identity, he manages to break them both out of the prison in which they are kept. They then thwart the arms dealer's plan of blowing up a football stadium in Paris and all ends well.

The film concludes with the forty-first birthday of François, where he and his wife take part in the kidnapping of a dangerous man at an evening show. The dangerous criminal is none other than Simon pretending yet again to be someone else. The film ends on this humorous note.



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