Robert Deniro and Al Pacino together, squaring off against one another in a crime film? In the mid 90s? Yep, sign me up for Heat.
Deniro is a leader of a tight-knit pack of career criminals. When one of their heists ends bloody thanks to a free agent they picked up for the job, things get messy behind the scenes. Pacino is the robbery-homicide detective that wants to take this troop of criminals down. Deniro and his men are detailed and well-prepared. Pacino is obsessive and will give up everything else in life when he is in pursuit of criminals.
The movie then focuses on these two sides. One one side, Pacino is trying to do everything he can to stop these men, at the cost of endangering his home life. On the other side, Deniro is trying to clean up messes and loose ends from the last heist while planning the next great and difficult job. In addition to that is the strife within one of his men’s personal life as Val Kilmer’s character is struggling in his own marriage. All of this plays out behind the scenes of the pursuit of the next score and Pacino’s pursuit of catching the criminals.
Heat is almost an impossible movie to talk about by now. It is a film that pits two of cinema’s biggest leading men of its time against one another. It doesn’t get much better than Al Pacino against Robert Deniro. In 95, these two were heavyweights that had a following and recognition like few others. And they not only sold tickets, but added a gravitas to a production. In addition, there is a Val Kilmer that was still relevant and a whole host of other names that should be recognizable to this day over 20 years later. The film included roles with Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, William Fichtner, Danny Trejo, Dennis Haysbert, Tom Noonan, Henry Rollins, Hank Azaria, Jeremy Piven, and even Natalie Portman. Yes, I left out Tone Loc. While I enjoy seeing him pop up in movies, I doubt many others will recognize him.
Ok, so Heat has a great cast. But so did Ocean’s Twelve. Now, is the movie any good? Yes, it is good. Everyone knows it is good. While I do think the movie isn’t quite as good as I once thought it is, it is still not just good, but great. I still find it to be one of my favorite action crime thrillers and my personal favorite Michael Mann movie. Deniro and Pacino work perfectly as opposing sides of the coin. The acting is strong on all fronts, top to bottom. The directing is solid and the cinematography is fantastic and immersive. Thank goodness it is. At just shy of 3 hours, if either the direction or acting were weak, this movie would become a slog to get through. But as it is, the time is only a factor in when you want to start the movie. It is much better to watch it when you can watch all the way through without interruptions. Additionally, Heat is one of the most beautiful looking city centric movies I can think of from the 90s. It is a joy to just view, let alone experience as a film.
Picture Quality: 4/5
Heat is a pretty movie. The last release had a nice transfer to it and so does this one. The upgrade is pretty minimal and not really noticeable. Especially since there are still a few moments that are not quite perfect, but really I don’t think anyone would be even close to disappointed with this image.
Audio Quality: 4/5
Once again, the track on this release is not noticeably different than on the last. But it still sounds pretty great. The track is immersive while not overwhelming and dialog is still good.
Special Features and Packaging: 4.5/5
A ton of special features including those from the previous release. A quick rundown reveals:
Audio Commentary with Director Michael Mann: For a movie this long, the commentary was decent. Michael gives a ton of information despite not being a riveting individual to listen to.
- 2016 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences: Long conversation and interesting retrospective moderated by Christopher Nolan.
- 2015 Toronto Film Festival: A talk with Mann from when they screened the film.
Pacino and De Niro: The Conversation: This featurette focuses on the interactions between their characters including the restaurant conversation.
The Making of Heat: A good carryover from previous releases as this is a good set of a featurettes of behind the scenes materials.
Return to the Scene of the Crime: Behind the scenes look at the locations used for the film.
Additional Footage – Deleted Scenes: It might be a three hour movie, but some stuff still had to get cut.
Theatrical Trailers: Yeah, you know you like them.
The packaging is nothing special. Standard case with a slipcover that matches the artwork. I wish the slipcover at least did something different as this release is otherwise pretty great.
Look guys, Heat is a great movie. This release looks and sounds great. The extras are solid and extensive. So should you buy it? It is under $10 right now. Yes, you should buy it. Should you upgrade? That is a tougher question. The previous release has most of the supplements. There are two new panels added to this release. The technical aspects don’t seem to be greatly improved over the previous release, so the upgrade is probably most earned by the new supplements. Its up to you, but this movie deserves to be in everyone’s collection in some form.