After getting a year's head start in the UK, Arrow Video brings Tony Scott and Quentin Tarantino's True Romance to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in the U.S. Not to leave the colonials out of all the fun, Arrow also brings all of the various packaging options with the same excellent Dolby Vision transfer, fantastic audio mix, and hours of the same bonus features albeit minus one small relatively insignificant interview. If you live in one of the original 13 colonies (or 37 states that followed) or Canada and didn't import this set last year, purchase with confidence knowing you're getting a terrific release. Must Own.
[Excerpt from our original 2021 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review]
"It’s pretty wild to realize we’ve been enjoying the rambling pitch-perfect pop culture dialog, colorful characters, and amazing stories of Quentin Tarantino for 30 years now. There was a time when the writer/director wasn’t a marquee name. Within just a few years we went from having never heard of the guy to films like Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Jackie Brown with his pen attached to flicks like Natural Born Killers and From Dusk Till Dawn with an obvious but uncredited rewrite of Crimson Tide.
While Quentin Tarantino gets a lot of due credit for his writing of True Romance, Tony Scott deserves a lot of the credit for his time in the director’s chair. This is one of those films where I feel Tarantino was the better writer than he would have been a director. Scott had a style and flair with his movies that allowed for some impressive visuals but kept a close intimacy with the characters. Take the interrogation scene between Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken. Scott works from a wide shot gradually cutting closer and closer into a closeup adding tension to each dialog exchange, but it also gives the actors room to work the scene. Walken gradually gets funnier while Hopper becomes more solemn. It's this unique energy Scott brings to the script that I don’t think Tarantino would have been able to pull off at that time in his career.
While Scott and Tarantino certainly deserve their accolades, this movie wouldn’t be anything without its cast. Christian Slater delivers one of his best performances with Patricia Arquette matching him scene for scene. Both actors have amazing conflict scenes - Slater against Gary Oldman’s Drexl and Arquette against Gandolfini’s Virgil. They’re intense shocking moments and each actor plays their parts perfectly. From bit parts with Brad Pitt’s Floyd to Saul Rubinek’s Lee, this movie has a huge cast and everyone gets at least one great scene to shine. All of this is wrapped up into a charming hyper-violent love story where you're always rooting for this unlikely pair of star-crossed lovers."
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
True Romance is given loving attention on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from Arrow Video. No longer a UK Exclusive, there are a variety of editions - A Two-Disc SteelBook, a Limited Edition Deluxe Two-Disc SteelBook with Slipcase, and a Single-Disc Limited Edition. Previously, we reviewed the Limited Edition Deluxe Two-Disc SteelBook with Slipcase. This time around we're looking at the single-disc Limited Edition which offers up a lot of the same swag, including the same booklet, a reversible poster, and reproduction lobby cards. If you want a 1080p Blu-ray, you have to get the Deluxe SteelBook. We get essentially the exact same BD-100 disc - minus one small bonus feature interview with both the Director’s Cut and Theatrical Cut on the same disc. There is no 1080p Blu-ray included with this option. The disc loads to the same animated main menu with standard navigation options.
Seeing as the two transfers are Identical, there's nothing new to offer here other than to say it's still a fantastic looking 4K disc.
"Both the Theatrical Edition and Director’s Cut arrive on the same disc via seamless branching with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio in 2160p with Dolby Vision HDR (HDR10 is of course included). With any Tony Scott movie you have to take the man’s kinetic gritty filmmaking style with the substance. The man loved his film grain and he loved his smokey interiors resulting in a movie that’s probably best described as “beautifully ugly” but true to the film. Over the years I’ve gotten to see film prints screened several times and this is the best I’ve seen this film look.
It maintains a gritty grainy appearance with strong details, bold stylish colors, and deep black levels. Depending on the scene, grain can fluctuate but maintains an organic film-like appearance. Facial features, costuming, Gary Oldman’s makeup, Saul Rubinek’s screening room - fine details all come to life without any signs of edge enhancement or artificial sharpening. No signs of any DNR.
With Dolby Vision HDR, the film’s colors, black levels, and often difficult whites come to life. Skin tones are healthy without looking too pink or pale. Primaries are gorgeous - the soft blue light when Clarence and Alabama spend their first night together really pops. While they gain extra presence, they’re not overblown - everything still looks true to the film released 30 years ago. Black levels are deep and inky giving the film lovely three-dimension depth - for most scenes.
Tony Scott loved to shoot through smoke so there are several scenes in diners or apartments where hazy cigarette smoke permeates the room - these scenes can have a flatter softer appearance. On top of that, bright windows are frequently blown out and bright white; coupled with the smoky interiors and you have a few sequences that don’t quite leap off the screen in full beauty - but more or less that’s all by design. This transfer feels like those hot whites don’t bloom quite so severely or completely wash out the scene in question. All around this is an excellent transfer that stays true to the original film and looks fantastic on 4K."
"Arrow gives True Romance a pair of audio tracks - a DTS-HD MA 5.1 and DTS-HD MA 2.0. Both are in keeping with the film’s original theatrical release since some theaters were able to show the film with digital surround and they’re both great. It’s actually pretty difficult to pick a winner one over the other. The 5.1 mix sounds more spacious giving some of the sound elements a little more room to breathe where the 2.0 mix is a bit more front-loaded. That’s where I could give a slight edge to the 2.0 mix since some of the sound effects hit with a lot more upfront impact where the 5.1 mix moves it around a bit. Really you can’t go wrong with either mix, it just boils down to what kind of experience you want. For both tracks, the dialogue comes throughout any issue and Hans Zimmer’s excellent score sounds fantastic."
As for the bonus features, you have quite literally hours upon hours of materials to dig through. And to that point, 99% of the bonus features from the 2021 UK release have been brought over. The only thing missing is the seven-minute interview segment with Dan Storm. Not enough of a loss to get worked up over really. Otherwise, you've got everything here all wrapped up in one nice little package.
For U.S.-based True Romance fans, this is a day long coming. A year ago Arrow gave the U.K. and by extension the import markets one hell of a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of Tony Scott and Quentin Tarantino's action-packed romance film. For those out there who didn't want to pay the extra cost of shipping and the agonizing wait for your package to clear customs, today is your day! Arrow Video delivers what is ostensibly the exact same release to North American markets. The fantastic Dolby Vision transfer is the same. The two 2.0 and 5.1 audio tracks are the same. And the bonus features are almost the same. There's only one small bonus feature missing between releases but it's in all honesty, not one to lose sleep about. If you haven't already ordered your copy of True Romance on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray - now's your chance!
I previously ranked the UK release "Highly Recommended" but in a year and after several more viewings, my fondness for this set has only grown. It's absolutely a Must Own if you haven't picked it up already.