Digital Review: James Cameron’s “True Lies” Has Never Looked or Sounded Better

By the end of 1994, the highest-grossing films in the world were The Lion King, Forrest Gump, and True Lies. Written and directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, True Lies has strangely been absent in the nearly 30 years since it debuted. Last released on DVD in 1999, fans have seen home entertainment technology leap forward without this gem getting any upgrades… until now. Scheduled for a 4K Ultra-HD and Blu-Ray release on March 12th, fans who can’t wait any longer can now own the James Cameron-approved 4K remaster for purchase through all major digital movie platforms, including Amazon and Apple TV.

(20th Century Studios/Lightstorm Entertainment)

(20th Century Studios/Lightstorm Entertainment)

Secret agent Harry Tasker (Schwarzenegger) is so good at his job that his wife, Helen (Curtis), believes he’s really just a computer salesman. Stuck in a rut, Helen gets caught up with a charlatan (Bill Paxton) posing as a secret agent, who gives her mundane life some much-needed excitement. Harry decides to have some fun with both of them, but when his actions get his wife caught up in a real terrorist plot, they’ll both get more than they bargained for.

James Cameron’s action comedy tends to get lost in the shuffle of his body of work. He’d already proven himself more than capable in science fiction with The Terminator and Aliens, and his next project would be the Best Picture-winner Titanic, followed by a lengthy gap until his current franchise, Avatar. But in my opinion, it also stands out as being something unique amongst his filmography.

In a home video release made possible through Lightstorm Entertainment (James Cameron’s production company) and 20th Century Studios, True Lies is treated to a well-crafted hour-long documentary about the production, and comes with a wealth of image extras, including the full script and storyboards. The lone bonus feature from its previous DVD release, a theatrical trailer, also makes the jump.

Bonus Features

  • Fear Is Not an Option: A Look Back at True Lies (43:28) – Unveil the explosive behind-the-scenes secrets of TRUE LIES with the cast and crew as they share untold tales of daring stunts, cutting-edge technology, and the comedic genius that brought this spy-thriller to life.
  • Archives: Script, Artwork, Marketing – Dive into the production secrets of True Lies with these exclusive behind-the-scenes documents and more.
    • Theatrical Trailer (2:17)
    • Original Script
    • Storyboards
    • Blueprints
    • Unit Photography
    • Location Photography
    • Poster Gallery


True Lies has never looked better than it does now. The 4K restoration is so crisp and clear that at times, you’d swear it was filmed yesterday. At times, it almost looks too good, with film grain almost non-existent in many scenes. There are a handful of moments where you get a sense of the film source that was worked with, particularly a hazy interrogation scene. Through the loss of grain, however, i didn’t detect any loss of detail. For the most part, the film doesn’t show its age in this new restoration.


Viewed via an Apple TV in 4K, the primary audio mix for True Lies is a new Dolby Atmos track that helps bring the film into the present. Sound effects, like bullets flying from off-screen, whizz over your head in this immersive new mix.

Final Thoughts

Having recently revisited True Lies in standard definition when the 20th Television series adaptation premiered earlier this year (on CBS), I’m amazed by how incredible the film looks in this new 4K restoration. It’s still the fun action comedy I remember, although the script is often a sign of the times it was produced in. Those unfamiliar with the film may need a reminder that it was made before 9/11 and prior to the MeToo movement. With an excellent new retrospective documentary and a treasure trove of still images, diehard fans probably never thought this film would get such a nice re-release after so many years of it being ignored.

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Alex Reif
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).