Warner Brothers as they have done previously with other films releases this double feature of non-stop violence done in a satirical, dark comedy style. A common thread is Quentin Tarantino who did the screenplay for "True Romance" and the story for "Natural Born Killers." If you don't have these films already on Blu ray, this is an economical way to add them to your collection. Here are the individual movie reviews:
4.5 stars - "True Romance" (1993) - Even if you didn't know ahead of time, it would be easy to figure out that Quentin Tarantino wrote the script for this visceral and stylistic dark comedy. Clarence (Christian Slater) is a lonely clerk at a comic book store in a crummy section of Detroit. It's his birthday so what does he do? He takes in a triple feature of Sonny Chiba movies at the local cinema. In the middle of the showing, a provocative beautiful girl "bumps" into him in the nearly empty theater. It turns out that Alabama (Patricia Arquette) is a hooker who's been on the job only 4 days (and 3 tricks) and was sent to "meet" Clarence by his thoughtful boss. They spend the night together and fall in love. Yes, it feels real. They are both sober and they believe it's true romance, so they get married.
In order to free Alabama from her pimp (an over-the-top crazy Gary Oldman), Clarence, courageous but not so smart, confronts him. It doesn't go well and Clarence ends up taking out Drexl (Oldman) and his henchman. Thinking it is Alabama's suitcase, he departs with a million dollars worth of cocaine (street value). Eventually they go to Los Angeles where a boyhood chum (Michael Rapaport), who is a struggling actor, will hopefully help him sell the coke. Unfortunately the mob is on their trail as well as the police. A concluding scene explodes in violence.
Directed by Tony Scott, the film is full of brilliantly written and delivered small scenes. In one scene, just after Clarence and Alabama depart for L. A., Clarence's father (Dennis Hopper) is paid a visit by the mob boss consigliore (Christopher Walken). Their interaction is priceless. In another small role, Brad Pitt plays the stoner roommate of Dick (Rapaport). In just a couple well written scenes, he's able to show his comedic side. The film isn't all a light-hearted affair however. In a hard to watch scene, Alabama is viciously beat up by one of the mobsters (James Gandolfini). Preceding the great "Pulp Fiction" by a year, "True Romance" remains one of the best films of the genre.
The Blu ray transfer is pretty good but not great. I don't think the original prints were updated much, so while better than the DVD, the video isn't demo quality. The sound, certainly improved with the Dolby TruHD give some nice ambient effects. I've always liked the Hans Zimmer soundtrack and it's even better here. There are numerous extras including 3 commentaries, selective scene commentaries, deleted and extended scenes with commentary, an alternate ending with commentary, a featurette and more.
3.0 stars - "Natural Born Killers" (1994) - This polarizing Oliver Stone movie really got the MPAA ratings board in an uproar when it was scheduled for release. They assigned it an NC-17 tag due to the excessive violence, gore, sex, profanity and the like. It was eventually cut enough to get an R but remained highly controversial. Critics pretty much lined up on the side of brilliant satire or loathsome glorification of violence. Here we get the unrated version and even a perverse cut scene involving Ashley Judd (special features).
Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis) are a couple of misfits in love with each other and the power of killing people in cold blood. They were both abused as children as we learn in flashbacks and a sit-com (complete with laugh track) fantasy. I guess Stone and his writers (David Veloz for the script and Quentin Tarantino for the story) put this in to make the natural born killers somewhat sympathetic. What makes this film different from a similarly violent "True Romance" which came out a year earlier, is that many if not most of the victims are random and completely innocent in "NBK."
Satire involves humor, often subtle but there are some over-the-top moments that strike that cord. For example the fantasy sit-com which involves the laugh track responding enthusiastically when Mallory's father (real comedian Rodney Dangerfield) abuses his daughter. The juxtaposition of the laughing is humorous, but the vile father isn't. M & M get more notoriety as they advance their murder spree to the point of it becoming fodder for a national TV show headed by reporter Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr.). Like terrorists, M & M want credit for their carnage and Gale is willing to give it to them.
Once captured, M & M aren't finished as they create chaos in prison thanks to a clueless warden (Tommy Lee Jones) and Gales TV production. "NBK" certainly satirizes television's fascination with violence (if it bleeds it leads) but truly piles on. It also pokes fun at criminals and crime fighters alike, but I wonder how many bad guys watch this movie and "get it." Stone throws every trick in the book in the production of this film. Some of the movie is in color, some scenes are in black and white. While most of the film is 35 mm, some is video tape and super 8. He uses fantasy, newsreels and animation. He even manages to toss in a few references to his JFK conspiracy theory. So where do I stand? Right down the middle. If you can handle the violence and have an appreciation for dark comedy and satire, put this on your list. If you're the least bit squeamish, skip it.
The Blu ray transfer is excellent but does have variations due to the different formats Stone uses in the movie mix. The Dolby TruHD is likewise excellent. Near the film's conclusion a huge prison riot occurs and the chaos explodes from all the speakers which adds to the effect. Great soundtrack by the way. The director's cut also includes deleted scenes, alternate ending, interviews and director's commentary.
on February 25, 2013
I love these movies and was not disappointed with this Blu-ray 2 pack!
"Natural Born Killers is a 1994 American crime/action film directed by Oliver Stone about two victims of traumatic childhoods who became lovers and mass murderers, and are irresponsibly glorified by the mass media. It stars Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis, along with Rodney Dangerfield, Robert Downey, Jr., Tom Sizemore, and Tommy Lee Jones. The film is based on a screenplay by Quentin Tarantino that was heavily revised by Stone with writer Dave Veloz and associate producer Richard Rutowski. Notorious for its violent content, the film was named the eighth most controversial movie of all time by Entertainment Weekly in 2006. Natural Born Killers was promoted with such taglines as: "A bold new film that takes a look at a country seduced by fame, obsessed by crime and consumed by the media" and "In the media circus of life, they were the main attraction." It was released theatrically in the United States on August 26, 1994."
"True Romance is a 1993 American romantic crime film written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Tony Scott. The film stars Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette with a supporting cast featuring Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt and Christopher Walken."
on December 19, 2012
I have both uncut films on DVD and decided to purchase double movie on bluray for $7.50
True Romance is one of my favorite movies of the 90s from Tony scott director. I enjoyed all the characters in this film and this is easily one of my favorite movies in the 90s. I owned it on Vhs cassette, then own it DVD uncut, now I own it again on bluray.
XD for buying it 3 times each format generation. Five star movie definitely. My unforgettable 90s gem. I really enjoyed Patricia arquette's character. Her smile, her teeth, so wonderful. I just did not like the sleezy parts in the beginning of her role until she changed for the better later in the film. Christian slater is fun to watch too. However, he acts very similar to all of his movies though, in this one I think he did an excellent job with added humor to his acting along with Brad pitt had me laughing ha. 9.5/10
Natural born killers is a movie I watched a dozen times and was amazed of the many video cameras used in this film in black and white and color by Oliver stone. There is no other style filming like this direction. I found the filming style to be unique and refreshing with all the video cameras used to capture many popular actors in this movie.
Film direction is top notch. Story wise however I found to be the weak part in this one as a couple randomly decide one day to go on a killing spree and become famous in the media. 8/10
on January 14, 2015
Good set for the money. I loved True Romance; Tarantino's influence clearly shines through. Natural Born Killers, though, left me wanting more. Despite being one of the most controversial films in the year of its release, NBK just came off as excruciatingly boring for about 80% of its duration.