True Lies (Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

A fearless, globe-trotting, terrorist-battling secret agent has his life turned upside down when he discovers his wife might be having an affair with a used-car salesman while terrorists smuggle nuclear war heads into the United States.

March 11, 2024 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a one man wrecking crew for the United States Government. He destroys entire cities, rebel groups, and anything else in his way with little trouble. He is an ace with any weapon and knows the subtleties of the secret agent business. But…his wife doesn’t know about this. She thinks he is a mundane computer salesman. And to be honest, she’s starting to get bored, even looking elsewhere for attention. She wishes her husband was exciting, like a used-car salesman/”secret agent” played brilliantly by Bill Paxton. Her wish comes true, and she gets more action/adventure thrills than she could ever dream of!

This movie is the action/adventure movie. It has it all, explosions, shooting, fighting, close calls, and smart-ass catch-phrases. The action is unparalleled in any other movie, and it is non-stop edge of your seat excitement. No, I don’t work for Fox, it’s the truth. True Lies is a must have for any action fan or anyone who enjoys well-done effects and spectacles. The story is actually very good too, with only stereotypical action genre conventions hampering the story. But that’s the thing, these things don’t hamper the movie, because Harry is the kind of guy who knows how to make anything happen, it’s totally believable. There is a scene involving truth serum that is sweet as apple pie.

I find it odd and oddly amusing that this film is nestled right in the middle of two of Cameron’s other blockbusters – Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Titanic. Take your pick – both are amazing. But for those that don’t want to see Arnold riding a motorcycle or Leonardo DiCaprio shouting “I’m the king of the world!” there’s this – a great action movie that’s got a little something for everyone. I won’t say that this is my favorite James Cameron film, but it’s up there. Tom Arnold provides plenty of comic relief, Bill Paxton does well in his part as well. But, let’s face it, it’s all about Arnold (and, to a lesser extend, Jamie Lee Curtis). Action. Adventure. Spies. And comedy. It’s like James Bond minus the cool gadgets. If this has somehow eluded you since the mid 90’s – do check it out.

Video: How’s it look?

Any fan of James Cameron knows he loves to tinker with his own films. And that’s fine, after all…they’re his films. Cameron has always been at the forefront of technology, so it’s no surprise that he’d embrace AI. My opinion of it (at the timing of this writing) is that the technology is still in its infancy and will/should improve as time goes by. But…we’ve also been waiting for this movie for quite some time. I mention this as Cameron has used AI to “assist” him with the 4K restoration that we get on the disc. This will, of course, polarize viewers. Some just want the best image quality possible and others want a more “true” version, similar to what we’ve seen over the years. That said, the image is greatly improved over the previously-released DVD. Things are sharper, (and at some points, maybe a bit too sharp) and if you’re looking for anything “AI’ish” it’s likely going to be pretty difficult to spot. The best way I can describe it is like the Auto Motion Plus (aka “The Soap Opera” effect) on new TV’s. This option can be turned off. Nevertheless, the 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image does offer a significant improvement in quality over what’s been available. It’s up to you if you’re going to let this bother you or not. Here’s a screenshot illustrating my point, the left side being the original and the right with the “improved” picture:

Image courtesy of JoBlo.com

Audio: How’s it sound?

I would have to assume that if ever there was a director who’d embrace the Dolby Atmos sound format it’d be Cameron. And that’s what we’ve got here. And your speakers will get a workout from this one, to be sure. Vocals are top notch with the fronts and surrounds (and height channels) all offering their input into some of the movies key sequences. I don’t know what the sound of a horse running through a hotel really sounds like, but until I do – this is my reference point. Not to be left out, the LFE have their fare share of moments. Like the visuals, this one delivers on all levels, er…channels.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Fear is not an option: A Look Back at True Lies – This 43 minute documentary is the only real supplement that comes with this release. And, as expected, it delivers on what it promises. We get input from the cast and crew about the film as well as plenty of chatter from James Cameron. For those that really only want and need one supplement – this is it.
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Bottom Line

True Lies might not have won any awards, but it was a big hit back in the summer of 1994 alongside Forrest Gump and The Lion King. We’ve been waiting for decades to get this on Blu-ray and 4K and that wait is over. My advice is to enjoy it, don’t worry about the process and enjoy the film. But not everyone is like me.

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