June 25, 2022

TRUE ROMANCE (4K): Is It a Tony Scott Film?

TRUE ROMANCE Limited Edition (4K UHD Review)
1993 / 119 min (Theatrical cut) / 121 min (Director's cut)
Review by Tiger the Terrible😺

Today, it seems like fans associate True Romance more with Quentin Tarantino than Tony Scott, which does the latter sort of a disservice. Sure, there’s no disputing the film is full of QT’s quotable, reference-laden dialogue (especially during the first act), as well as another collection of unique, vivid characters. But having only directed Reservoir Dogs, he certainly wasn't a household name at the time.

Stylistically though, True Romance is pure Tony Scott…the frenetic pace, visual panache, stylized violence, jump-cut editing, Hans Zimmer’s score and, of course, a much greater emphasis on a linear plot - with comparatively few asides. Scott had his detractors, but as the Michael Bay of his day, he really was the perfect guy to direct something this aesthetically audacious. Though unquestionably a product of its decade, it remains one of Scott’s best films and well deserving of the cult status it enjoys today.

Still, it begs the question (for me, anyway): How would True Romance have turned out if Tarantino had directed? It certainly would have ended differently. One of the vintage bonus features included here is the alternate ending, which Tarantino initially preferred (he’s since changed his tune). And considering the closest QT ever came to a love story in his own films is Jackie Brown, one could assume the whole “romance” aspect of True Romance would be a much smaller part of the narrative. I’d also argue that his version would probably be deliberately paced, a bit less linear & plot-driven and probably more aesthetically timeless, with no proper film score of its own. 

"Got dressed in the dark again, didn't you?"
But would it be a better film? Perhaps not...but definitely different. As much as I love Tarantino, it’s hard to imagine he would have bothered making Clarence (Christian Slater) and Alabama (Patricia Arquette) as compulsively likable, despite being criminals on the lam. Their story would still be interesting, but I doubt we’d be quite as concerned whether they lived or died. Given QT’s penchant for homage, the end result would probably feature more allusions to Badlands than it already does. I’m just spit-balling, of course, but what-if hindsight is part of the fun of revisiting an old film written by a guy whose own career would someday eclipse that of its director (from a creative standpoint, anyway).

Ultimately, True Romance is more emblematic of Tony Scott than Quentin Tarantino. If not his first great film, it certainly remains one of his most loved. Kinda hard to believe it flopped when first released. For this limited edition set, Arrow Video serves up a great 4K restoration of both the theatrical & director’s cuts. Most of the bonus features are from previous releases, but there’s a smattering of interesting new interviews by a few folks who were involved behind the scenes. And as usual, it’s nicely packaged with new artwork and collectible goodies.



NEW INTERVIEWS - Individual interviews with costume designer Susan Baker, co-editor Michael Tronick, co-composers Mark Mancina & John Van Tongren (who worked with primary composer Hanz Zimmer), Tony Scott biographer Larry Taylor and fan Dan Storm.

VINTAGE SELECT SCENE COMMENTARIES - By actors Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Michael Rappaport & Brad Pitt

NEW SELECT SCENE COMMENTARIES - By actors Saul Rubinek and Bronson Pinchot.

ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT INTERVIEWS - Several vintage promo pieces featuring featurettes and interviews with Tony Scott, Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper & Gary Oldman.

4 AUDIO COMMENTARIES - 1) By director Tony Scott; 2) By screenwriter Quentin Tarantino; 3) By actors Christian Slater & Patricia Arquette; 4) By critic Tim Lucas.

ALTERNATE ENDING - The darker ending, with Tarantino initially preferred. This ending also includes two optional commentaries by Scott and Tarantino.

DELETED/EXTENDED SCENES - With optional commentary.



60 PAGE BOOK - Includes a great collection of new and archival essays, though it looks like only one was written specifically for this release. Still, all are great reads by authors who highly revere both the movie and its late director, Tony Scott. Also included are cast, crew & restoration credits.


2-SIDED POSTER - With new and vintage artwork.

REVERSIBLE COVER - With new and vintage artwork.

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