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Saturday, June 22, 2024

True Romance (Limited Edition) (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)


The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements


A comic book store manager meets and marries a beautiful prostitute and in the process of trying to disentangle her from her pimp ends up stealing a briefcase of cocaine that the two then try to sell to setup the rest of their lives together -- but the crimeworld owners of the drugs have other plans.

A year before his breakthrough Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino wrote the screenplay for this crime drama/dark comedy, directed by Tony Scott. True Romance has Tarantino’s signature style all over it, but in the confines of the more straightforward direction style of Scott.

Comic store manager Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) is awkward, sort of a conman, and celebrating his birthday by watching a Sonny Chiba triple-feature at a local grindhouse. That’s where he meets the beautiful Alabama (Patricia Arquette), and for Clarence, it’s love at first sight. His bubble is burst when he finds out Alabama is a prostitute who was paid for by his boss to show him a good time on his birthday. But she is also happy to give up being hooker to be with Clarence, but she is sure her pimp Drexl (Gary Oldman) will be angry. Ever the chivalrous hero, Clarence offers to break the news to Drexl himself and get her things, but what he doesn’t tell her is also plans to kill Drexl. He makes his way to Drexl’s club, but things go awry when a ruckus starts up and Drexl and his people end up dead. Panicked, Clarence grabs Alabama’s clothes and suitcase, but he mistakenly picks up a suitcase full of cocaine instead. Now he and Alabama are the crosshairs of drug dealers and the law as they plan to sell the drugs and head for South America to live happily ever after.

The witty dialogue, complex twists and blending of Hong Kong cinema references come straight from the mind of Tarantino. Heck, even some of the scenes, such as Clarence and Alabama having a conversation in booth at a diner, hint at scenes from Pulp Fiction. The difference is this film plays along a linear timeline and avoids some of the more shocking visual elements. Tony Scott keeps the story kinetic, and funny, while the cast is wonderfully placed. Arquette is perfect as Alabama, Slater puts on one of his best performances, and Oldman steals every scene he appears in.

The Video

This 4K Ultra HD release comes from 4K restorations of both the Theatrical Cut and the Director’s Cut of True Romance from the original camera negatives by Arrow Films. They are both presented in 2.39:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision. This is a just about flawless presentation from Arrow with fine, organic grain, lots of detail, and superbly graded Dolby Vision. The colors, such as primary colors like reds, really ‘pop’ straight through. Look at the scene where Christian Slater meets Gary Oldman in the bar – the reds there ‘pop’ in brilliant vermillion and we get some strong specular highlights as well. This is pretty much what we get straight through this transfer – beautiful gradations of shades in the sunsets, shadows that have nuanced detail and the highlights from light sources standing out well against the dark backgrounds.

The Audio

The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix has very lush atmospherics panned through the surround channels and wide stereo imaging across the front. It presents a dynamic program that suits the program material well. The action sequences hit with good impact and just enough weight in the low-end. It’s not going to be the sort of ultra-aggressive mix one might expect to hear in a contemporary film, but for a catalogue film from 1993 of this sort this mix really works. There is also a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo mix that has excellent stereo imaging and just as clear dialogue.

The Supplements

  • Double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck
  • Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions
  • 60-page perfect-bound collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kim Morgan and Nicholas Clement, a 2008 Maxim oral history featuring interviews with cast and crew, and Edgar Wright’s 2012 eulogy for Tony Scott
  • Limited Edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck
  • Director’s and Theatrical Cuts
  • Feature Commentaries:
    • Commentary by Tony Scott
    • Commentary by Quentin Tarantino
    • Commentary by Christian Slater & Patricia Arquette
    • Commentary by Tim Lucas
  • Select Scene Commentaries:
    • Dennis Hopper (2002)
    • Val Kilmer (2002)
    • Brad Pitt (2002)
    • Michael Rapaport (2002)
    • Bronson Pinchot (2021)
    • Saul Rubinek (2021)
  • New Interviews:
    • You’re So Cool with Susan Becker (1080p; DV; 00:09:57) – In this brand-new featurette, produced exclusively for Arrow Films, costume designer Susan Beker looks back in her work on the film.
    • Relentless Romance with Michael Tronick (1080p; DV; 00:11:13) — In this brand-new featurette, produced exclusively for Arrow Films, co-editor Michael Tronick looks back on how the film was cut together.
    • Amid the Chaos of the Day with Mark Mancina and John Van Tongeren (1080p; DV; 00:11:36) — In this brand-new featurette, produced exclusively for Arrow Films, composers Mark Mancina and John Van Tongeren recall their collaboration with Hans Zimmer ion the film’s music score.
    • A Hunger for Mayhem with Larry Taylor (1080p; DV; 00:06:44) — In this brand-new featurette, produced exclusively for Arrow Films, the director of True Romance is profiled by Larry Taylor, author of Tony Scott: A Filmmaker on Fire.
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes w/Optional Commentary by Tony Scott (1080p; DV; 00:29:15)
  • Alternate Ending w/optional Commentaries by Tony Scott or Quentin Tarantino (1080p; DV; 00:06:23)
  • Electronic Press Kit
    • US Featurette 1
    • US Featurette 2
    • International Featurette
    • Behind the Scenes
    • Interview with Tony Scott
    • Interview with Christian Slater
    • Interview with Patricia Arquette
    • Interview with Dennis Hopper
    • Interview with Gary Oldman
  • Trailers and TV Spots
    • US Theatrical Trailer (1080p; DV)
    • US TV Spots (1080p; DV)
    • International Trailer (1080p; DV)
  • Image Galleries (1080p):
    • Production Stills
    • Poster & Video Art

The Final Assessment

A masterful restoration packaged in a beautiful Arrow set with all the bonus features and collectibles one could ask for. Highly recommended.

True Romance (Limited Edition) is out on 4K Ultra HD June 21, 2022 from Arrow Video

  • Rating Certificate: R (for strong violence and language, and for sexuality and drug use)
  • Studios & Distributors: Morgan Creek Entertainment | Davis-Films | August Entertainment | Sterling MacFadden | Arrow Video
  • Director: Tony Scott
  • Written By: Quentin Tarantino | Roger Avary (uncredited)
  • Run Time: 119 Mins.
  • Street Date: 28 June 2022
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English SDH

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A comic book store manager meets and marries a beautiful prostitute and in the process of trying to disentangle her from her pimp ends up stealing a briefcase of cocaine that the two then try to sell to setup the rest of their lives together -- but the crimeworld owners of the drugs have other plans. True Romance (Limited Edition) (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)