In Detroit, a lonely pop culture geek marries a call girl, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the owners of the cocaine, the Mob, track them down in an attempt to reclaim it. Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Director Tony Scott’s True Romance, from Arrow Video.



Vision care Goggles Photograph Sunglasses Eyewear


The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

90



Details:

Studio and Year: Arrow Video - 1993
MPAA Rating: R/Unrated
Feature running time: 119/121 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Dolby Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken, James Gandolfini, Samuel L. Jackson, Saul Rubinek, Bronson Pinchot, Michael Rappaport
Directed by: Tony Scott
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Written by: Quentin Tarantino
Region Code: A,B,C


Release Date: June 28, 2022


"Stealing. Cheating. Killing. Who Says Romance is Dead?"


Synopsis:

In Detroit, a lonely pop culture geek marries a call girl, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the owners of the cocaine, the Mob, track them down in an attempt to reclaim it.


My Take:

In 1993, action movie supremo Tony Scott teamed up with a hot new screenwriter named Quentin Tarantino to bring True Romance to the screen, one of the most beloved and widely-quoted films of the decade. Elvis-worshipping comic book store employee Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) is minding his own business at a Sonny Chiba triple bill when Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette) walks into his life - and from then on, the two are inseparable. Within 24 hours, they're married and on the run after Clarence is forced to kill Alabama's possessive, psychopathic pimp. Driving a Cadillac across the country from Detroit to Hollywood, the newlyweds plan to sell off a suitcase full of stolen drugs to fund a new life for themselves... but little do they suspect that the cops and the Mafia are closing in on them. Will they escape and make their dream of a happy ending come true?

I feel like True Romance is one of those films that mainstream audiences would initially turn their noses up at and, after allowing it to marinade, finally have the realization that it’s much more than it appears to be on the surface. Written by Quentin Tarantino, it has his signature all over it. Gritty, violent and pulpy there’s an underlying absurdity that underscores the story that never detracts from its primary theme. There’s romance, action, drama and levity that are wonderfully balanced. The cast is loaded with talent, some already established, others not so, at the time, who would go on to terrific careers. The late Tony Scott, who I miss, expertly handles them, allowing each to successfully add a defining element, no matter how small, to the proceedings. Christian Slater is fine but, Patricia Arquette is the essence of what brings the best parts of the story together.

True Romance in its own right, is a classic film with a dedicated following. It has been a number of years since I have sat down with it. I have to say, its hasn’t lost any of its luster.

This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Limited-Edition offering features a new 4K restoration of both the original theatrical version and Director’s Cut from the original camera negatives, graded in Dolby Vision and HDR10, by Arrow Films. See below to check out a complete listing of the contents/supplements that are included


Replay Value:



Parental Guide:

The film contains violence, strong language, sexual content, drug use and thematic material.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.


Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



    • Dynamics:
    • Low frequency effects:
    • Surround Sound presentation:
    • Clarity/Detail:
    • Dialog Reproduction:
    • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element):


UHD Presentation: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



    • HDR: Dark Highlights:
    • HDR: Bright Highlights:
    • HDR: Expanded Color:
    • Resolution:
    • Visual Impact:


True Romance comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Arrow Video featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

Arrow Films remastered both the theatrical and Director’s Cut of True Romance from the original 35mm film elements. Its presentation in Ultra HD is derived from that 4K image, and the results are impressive.

It's important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. True Romance has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that may not result in the type of glossy, razor sharpness of digital films shot today. This isn't a problem and shouldn't be seen as such.

This is a thematic film that strives to create the look and feel of director Tony Scott and cinematographer Jeffrey L. Kimball’s vision. True Romance isn’t the type of film to make for a commanding visual experience on home video but, that’s more or less a given determined by its creative choices and, the elements innate to its photography.

I am happy to report that its primary foundation remains fully intact while revealing layers of seemingly new detail, definition, color delineation, and emboldened contrast that elevate its visual impact. The scene that takes place at the meeting at the amusement park with its rich earth tones and subtle nuance in the structures in and around the roller coaster are a prime example. I was impressed with the depth, detail and HDR in the sequence where Alabama and Clarence sit on the roof beneath the billboard. The same is true of the sepia toned shots of the Pacific Coast Highway as Lee barrels down it in his convertible.

The minutia visible in the clothing/physical features among the members of the cast as well as those contained within backgrounds/objects seen in the various interior locations depicted in the film was appreciable. Grain remains perfectly intact, with a primarily even and, organic essence. The color range in the film is somewhat limited but, the rendering of primary colors, particularly shades of red, is pleasingly vivid. I also found that fleshtones appeared gradational and quite natural.

The addition of high dynamic range added a pleasing visual element that enriched both natural and artificial light. I also felt that the sun splashed sequences benefited from the application of HDR which emboldened their depth. In addition to the increase in resolution, this made the differences between the 1080p video and this rendering standout.

I found the Ultra HD presentation of True Romance allows its attributes to be fully realized in a way that it probably hadn’t been before. Video enthusiasts are sure to appreciate it.



DTS-HD Master Audio:

The lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack readily handled the elements contained in the recording. The presentation retained a front-loaded perspective with clearly reproduced dialogue that extends well into the room. The soundstage is fairly wide with discernible front channel separation and good clarity. When called upon the rear channels supply ambient extension along with some discretely placed sounds that extend the soundfield and enhance envelopment, in a complimentary way. Generally speaking, I was impressed with its dynamic range which provided satisfying solidity and impact. Compared to today’s movie soundtracks this presentation sounds a bit dated however, all things considered, I was quite pleased with it.



For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: True Romance Ultra HD Blu-ray
    • New 4K restorations of both the Theatrical Cut and the Director’s Cut from the original camera negatives by Arrow Films
    • Limited Edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck
    • 60-page perfect-bound collectors’ 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
    • Double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck
    • Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions
    • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible) of both cuts
    • Original uncompressed stereo audio and DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio
    • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
    • Audio commentary by director Tony Scott
    • Audio commentary by writer Quentin Tarantino
    • Audio commentary by stars Christian Slater & Patricia Arquette
    • Audio commentary by critic Tim Lucas
    • Select scene commentaries by stars Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt and Michael Rapaport
    • Brand new select scene commentaries by stars Bronson Pinchot and Saul Rubinek
    • New interview with costume designer Susan Becker
    • New interview with co-editor Michael Tronick
    • New interview with co-composers Mark Mancina and John Van Tongeren
    • New interview with Larry Taylor, author of Tony Scott: A Filmmaker on Fire
    • Deleted scenes with optional commentary by Tony Scott
    • Alternate ending with optional commentaries by Tony Scott and Quentin Tarantino
    • Electronic press kit featurettes, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Tony Scott, Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper and Gary Oldman
    • Trailers and TV spots
    • Image galleries



Final Thoughts:

Written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by the late Tony Scott, True Romance is an entertaining and eclectic film experience. It comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray in this Limited-Edition offering from Arrow Video featuring newly restored and complimentary video quality, lossless surround sound and a fan friendly supplemental package that includes collectibles. If you’re a True Romance fan this is a must have and comes highly recommended.








Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-NZ7 4K Ultra High-Definition Laser Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7706 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems