True Lies (Digital)

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.

January 31, 2024 6 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?

If you take in to account that the Blu-ray format arrived in 2006 and this movie was never really a part of it, that’s a lot of waiting. And anyone who’s a fan of James Cameron knows that he tends to take his time with his movies so they look the way they’re supposed to. Was it worth the wait? No, not really. But to others, it might be. Having said all of that, we finally get a nice (albeit digital) version of the film. Presented in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, there’s very little real estate wasted with the action on screen. Flesh tones look warm and natural, detail level has been improved which is a good thing if you’re watching Jamie Lee Curtis dance around in her lingerie. Black levels and contrast work well with one another leaving us with a superb visual experience.

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 digital 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

There are no sinking ships, cyborgs or treasures at the bottom of the sea with this one. It’s all fun and all action. It’s a great cast and it’s about damn time that we finally see this on any format other than DVD.

Disc Scores