True Lies – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Mark Pacis

True Lies

True Lies masterfully combines intense action with comedic elements, crafting a film that stands out as a classic in its genre. With Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis leading the cast, it delivers a mix of excitement and humor that has endured over time.

True Lies revolves around secret agent Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger), whose family is unaware of his true profession. The film’s brilliance stems from Harry’s thrilling espionage activities contrasting with his mundane domestic home life, sparking multiple comedic misadventures and misunderstandings. As a result, the plot weaves through a variety of engaging themes such as fidelity, illusion, and the pursuit of thrill in everyday life.

Schwarzenegger’s performance seamlessly combines his action-hero image with a surprising comedic talent. Jamie Lee Curtis’s role evolves from a naive wife to an action hero, providing a humorous yet empowering narrative arc highlighting her acting range. Thus, their dynamic partnership adds depth to the film, offering a nuanced perspective on marriage in extreme conditions. As Harry’s quick-witted colleague, Gib, Tom Arnold complements their dynamic with humor and warmth.

As one might expect from James Cameron, True Lies delivers on the action. The film features spectacular action scenes, including high-speed chases and explosive confrontations, all crafted with Cameron’s attention to detail and narrative integration. The film’s action sequences are visually impressive, enhanced by groundbreaking special effects ahead of their time.

Overall, True Lies surpasses typical action-comedy boundaries, providing a richly layered experience. It showcases Cameron’s knack for blending high-stakes narratives with relatable human themes. This film demonstrates technical excellence and offers a story filled with adventure, humor, and personal discovery, cementing its status as a timeless and exhilarating cinematic masterpiece. True Lies might not be what you expect from the sci-fi master, but it’s still a great popcorn flick.

Movie Review: 4/5 atoms

True Lies - Arnold Schwarzenegger

True Lies hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a native 4K, HEVC / H.265, Dolby Vision/HDR10 presentation with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The film has been released in a 2160p UHD 4K format with Dolby Vision, sparking mixed reactions due to its artificially enhanced clarity compared to the grainy visuals of its original 1994 DVD release. Utilizing modern technology and reported AI assistance from Park Road, the new transfer offers a much cleaner and smoother image, which has stirred some discontent among purists.

The remastered edition of True Lies showcases a striking color transformation. The introductory spy sequences, with their cold, steely blues, contrast sharply against the later scenes’ luxurious, warm interiors. This vivid color enhancement extends throughout the film. The 4K resolution highlights minute details in close-up shots, offering an extraordinary view of textures and features in facial expressions and costumes. While the new version maintains a hint of the original’s filmic grain, it eliminates the analog flaws, presenting a modernized appearance that may not appeal to everyone. Purists will argue that it makes the film look a little too clean. 

Video Review: 4/5 atoms

True Lies - Jamie Lee Curtis

True Lies hits Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos or a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD audio presentation if Atmos is not supported. This review will cover the Blu-ray’s Dolby Atmos mix. The Dolby Atmos track for True Lies is immersive and detailed, offering a rich auditory experience. The opening scene sets the tone with layered sounds from a bustling party, including distinct conversations, tango music, and resounding gunshots, culminating in a dramatic explosion that fully engages the surround sound system.

This immersive quality continues throughout the film, with vivid chase scenes, street-level horse gallops, and impactful sound effects. Using height speakers adds an extra dimension, making rain, bullets, and falling debris feel ominously present. The soundtrack is effectively chaotic (in a good way), and the dialogue remains clear and coherent against the action backdrop. Lastly, action sound effects like gunfire and explosions, enhanced by a deep rumble from the subwoofer, add a tangible sense of danger and intensity.

Audio Review: 5/5 atoms

True Lies - Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Arnold
Special Features

True Lies doesn’t have any bonus features on the Ultra HD disc. However, the following bonus features can be found on the disc three, the bonus features disc:

  • Fear is Not an Option: A Look Back at True Lies
  • Archives: Script, Artwork, Marketing
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • Original Script
    • Storyboards
    • Blueprints
    • Unit Photography
    • Location Photography
    • Poster Gallery
Features Assessment

The True Lies 4K release includes an exciting new addition: a 44-minute segment of interviews, highlighted by fresh conversations with Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron. The featurette includes vintage interviews from 2012 with Curtis and Paxton and many behind-the-scenes footage. 

“The Fear is Not An Option” feature presents a new conversation featuring Schwarzenegger and Cameron, delving into the creation of True Lies, its development process, and the enjoyable experience they shared during its production. Additionally, this section features archival interviews from 2012 with Jamie Lee Curtis and Bill Paxton, enriched with extensive behind-the-scenes footage, making it a must-see for fans. Another new feature, “Archives,” offers a deep dive into the film’s visual history. This collection showcases various photography sets taken for the film, promotional materials, storyboards, initial script drafts, and more, presented in a comprehensive slideshow format.

Special Features Review: 3/5 atoms

Overall, True Lies masterfully blends explosive action with comedic flair. Its timeless appeal showcases James Cameron’s directorial prowess. This brand-new release offers a stunning 4K experience with an immersive Dolby Atmos audio track. Unfortunately, the bonus features are severely lacking when you compare it to the Aliens and Abyss releases. Nevertheless, it does feature a new featurette that includes insightful anecdotes from Schwarzenegger and Cameron.

Overall Review: 4/5 atoms

True Lies is now available in stores on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

This Blu-ray was provided by Buena Vista Home Entertainment for review purposes.