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Category:    Home > Reviews > Crime > Thriller > Heist > Action > Heat (1995/Warner Blu-ray)

Heat (1995/Warner Blu-ray)


Picture: B+     Sound: B+     Extras: C+     Film: A-



Heat is a powerful film with a star studded cast.  Michael Mann’s managed to create a film that overflows with action, adventure and pure entertainment from beginning to end.  It stands as one of the best action films to date and holds strong as it ages flawlessly.  The story is engaging, the actors are perfectly cast, the style is stunning and blasts out of this world with one of the greatest gunfights ever; putting both cowboys and Rambo to shame.


The story is filled with captivating events that feature Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) as a professional thief who runs is ranks tight.  Each of his heists includes Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), a close friend and a part of McCauley’s disciplined system of stealthy thievery.  McCauley is the best of the best and his intuitive nature has allowed him to stay under the radar for years, but as McCauley and his boys move in for one of their biggest heists ever a watchful presence has surfaced.  Al Pacino plays Lt. Vincent Hanna, an accomplished and experienced detective who has picked up McCauley’s scent and will stop at nothing to bring him down.  Concurrently McCauley goes head to head with the detective to outmaneuver and outsmart.  The strong headed adversaries establish a tense battle that stretches citywide as Los Angles becomes a nonstop thrill ride with twists and turns like no other.


The film is crazy fun beginning to end.  The clashing personalities of De Niro and Pacino finally on screen together for the first time is simply amazing.  Pacino is the louder and more vibrant of the two personalities, but De Niro’s seemingly ‘cool as a cucumber’ persona is also an interesting evolution as the control freak’s emotions are bursting at the seams.  The two veteran actors are supposedly black and white in the film, but as the film progresses we see the two men are more similar than different.  The actors compliment each other perfectly and anyone who doesn’t take the time to view this film is truly missing out.


Outside of the aforementioned actors, a cavalcade of other actors make appearances; each helping to take the film to the next level as their stellar performances jump from the screen.  The likes of Natalie Portman, Ted Levine, Hank Azaria, Ashley Judd, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Jeremy Piven and many more all manage to show their faces.


The film has action, drama, unbridled emotion and is certainly one of the best crime films of all time.  It is a film that can be watched over and over again as the story grasps you and the characters keep you fully engaged.


The technical features of the new Heat Blu-ray are wonderfully done as the film has never looked better.  The restored picture is presented in a 2.4 X 1; 1080p/VC-1 widescreen that as Mann intended leans more toward the darks than the brights.  The color palette is not bright or flashy by any means, but is solid and the inky blacks frame the image perfectly.  The film seems to be intentionally grainy to a degree, but it is never distracting.  The film’s textures and detail are wonderfully displayed on this Blu-ray and anyone would be proud to have it in their collection.  The sound is a lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround Sound that is lively as the directionality takes you right into the action.  The explosive film clearly and crisply delivers a track that allows every gun shot to ‘POP’ and every tiny ambient noise to be heard as the rears a fully utilized. Both the picture and sound are greatly immersive; as the thrill your eyes and ears as much as the film does.


The extras are transferred over from the 2-Disc Special Edition DVD released a few years back, but hold up well and give viewers a nice look behind the scenes of the film.  The extras include an Audio Commentary with writer/director Michael Mann that is drab at times, but for the most part Mann offers many interesting facts and stories behind the production that will impress fans.  The bonus content also features The Making of Heat: True Crime; The Making of Heat: Crime Stories; The Making of Heat: Into the Fire; Pacino and De Niro: The Conversation; Return to Scene of the Crime; Deleted Scenes; Theatrical Trailers.  The extras all are very revealing and each (as titled) explores the film in a different and intriguing manner.  They may be a port from an older DVD (as they are all in standard definition), but they fantastically capture why the film is so great.


Heat is a burning pit of emotion, action and captivating storyline.  If you have never seen the film before this Blu-ray’s great picture, sound and extras only add to the reasons to add it to your collection.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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