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Worth A Look: 19.61%
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3 reviews, 84 user ratings

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Heat (1995)
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by Slyder

"Another action movie with brains"
5 stars

The ďcops and robbersĒ movie formula has been played and overplayed several times since be beginning of the world that itís boring whenever one of those films come up on TV or on screen since you know exactly where and how is it going to end with only a shitload of guns and explosions to draw some, if not any interest from the masses. So, if the ďcops and robbersĒ formula and 3 hours running time of this film is enough to turn you off as it happened to me back when this movie was released, then I suggest you prepare yourself to be surprised just like I did, since Heat is a mighty fine action thriller. Michael Mann, fresh of the success of The Last of the Mohicans crafts an elaborate and well plotted film so engrossing that you wonít even feel the 3 hours that this film justifiably needs to give out its story.

Any dimwitted filmmaker would just grab the basic premise of a cop and robber formula and run it by the numbers superficially (robber robs a bank/truck/whatever, cop has to catch him, close calls, robber and cop clash, blah blah blah). Mann does the opposite way around, diving below the surface and digging out the motives of what drives the cop and the robber.

The robber being Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) whom leads a crew of high-skilled thieves (Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, and Danny Trejo), and the cop being Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) who also has his crew of investigators (Ted Levine, Wes Studi, Mykelti Williamson), and goes after Neilís trail after a dramatic armored car vehicle robbery. Both sides of the law are carefully studied (some more than others): Neil is an obsessed control freak whom lives by a code of not attaching himself to anything he canít walk out in 30 seconds flak if he feels the heat around the corner, but pays the price with his loneliness. Vincent is an angst-ridden bitter cop whom is so obsessed with his job that it has practically destroyed his marital life to which his wife Justine (Diane Venora) reacts as lowly as possible while his stepdaughter Lauren (Natalie Portman) just watches her whole world disintegrate even more.

The whole movie is centered on and around these events which ultimately climax at a major bank heist gone wrong. Several supporting players appear adding even more layers of storyline to the movie which involves Neilís handler Nate (Jon Voight), and a former convict on parole (Dennis Haysbert) plus several ill-fated dealings with a corrupt businessman Roger Van Zant (William Fitchner), and a cowboy named Waingro (Kevin Gage), an ex-member of Neilís crew. Mann masterfully balances equally the amount of importance of the characters on both sides of the fence, further cementing the importance of both sides instead of pondering on one side, and bringing out an interesting similarity between the two, on how they put aside everything in their lives to get the job done. Like Neil said in the smoking meeting between Neil and Vincent: I do what I do best, I take scores; you do what you do best, try and stop guys like me. Ultimately, when they finally face off, a sense of understanding and respect of either side looms in the dark horizon of the nighttime sky.

I donít think there are many movies that have a character study like this one, especially when it comes to action films. There are very few action films which are remotely interesting and are more concerned with shootings, explosions and the occasional tit flash rather than the intricate possibilities of their story. Heat is an intelligent action film concerned more about its story to which the action just goes with the flow, and it manages to reach almost an epic status. The cinematography by the great Dante Spinotti is perfect, with a mix of steady-cam and shaky shots giving the film a true authentic feel for realism; his camerawork for the armored truck score is excellent, but he out does himself with the bank shootout which is unquestionably one of the finest action sequences ever caught on film. Elliot Goldenthalís score is also great and drives the filmís several key emotional scenes without any over excess. But the huge bravo goes to Michael Mannís screenplay and his direction, which are close to perfect. There are a few slow moments and the final events leading to the climatic final face off maybe questionable and predictable to some, but all in all, itís a very fine piece of work.

The acting is great. Ok, enough with the Robert De Niro meeting Al Pacino after 20 years blah blah blah, thatís just ancient history thatís beside the point. De Niro fits the role of Neil very well and delivers a fine performance. Same thing with Pacino though in certain ways heís somewhat miscast in the role but man does he compensate for it. Val Kilmer is alright considering his lack of range, he does very well as well as Tom Sizemore and Diane Venora. The rest of the cast was good.

In the end, this film is awesome and itís unquestionably one of the finest films of 1995, the only complaint being that the assholes that packaged the DVD didnít include any extra features (commentary or behind-the-scenes documentary). Regardless though, it remains a perfect example on how an action movie should be made. 4.5-5

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=2192&reviewer=235
originally posted: 03/25/04 15:56:12
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User Comments

10/17/17 danR bank-heist soundtrack (Brian Eno) 1 of the best in action-scene history. 4 stars
9/13/17 morris campbell killer cops & robbers flick 4 stars
10/15/15 David Hollingsworth An action epic with heart, soul and immense complexity 5 stars
6/30/13 The Big D So long and intense that it burns itself out--Ralph was the best character. 2 stars
8/04/12 Silkworm Genius - Michael Mann at his best 5 stars
3/29/11 jeannie santabene What can you really say?? all words are less than in describing this miracle movie called H 5 stars
2/13/11 terror one of the greatest movies ever made 5 stars
11/26/09 Monday Morning Pacino & DeNiro weren't even together for their diner scene. No two-shots. 3 stars
7/16/09 Steven M Not too bad! the best parts are in the middle of film and at end with the chase scene!! 3 stars
3/14/09 Hiroshi All those morons here who gave this classic any negative rating is a retard. 5 stars
2/09/09 Todddi over-hyped, overrated, and overall boring 1 stars
8/31/08 Herbet Superb acting. How I wish the end was different though... McCauley shouldn't have died! 5 stars
8/22/08 pantera what the fuck, this is one of the best films ever 5 stars
8/09/08 Man out 6 bucks Yet more moron psychos amok in the balkanized capitol of fair-weather friends: Los Angeles 3 stars
7/14/08 Renzo Agree with review. 2 stars
12/08/07 Jose Luis One of the best films ever, absolute masterpiece, brilliant perfomances, perfect direction. 5 stars
11/26/07 MP Bartley Prog rock as film. Terrifically directed, but heartless (as usual for Mann) 4 stars
6/18/07 EaSyTiGeR one of the best movies of all time..rewatching makes it even better.. 5 stars
6/11/07 al smith best film of the 90s shootout will never be beaten.great acting and directing 5 stars
1/26/07 action movie fan best cops 'n' robbers shootout great story best film of 1995 5 stars
12/18/06 Charles Tatum Fine film, but Pacino is waaay over the top for this 4 stars
11/26/06 don ketchup the best movie of the 1990s.De Niro n Pacino have their finest moments 5 stars
4/03/06 Dillon One of the greatest and deepest action movie. Mann's the master of the crime genre 5 stars
2/28/06 VMANIC1 A little too much dialogue in first hour and a half, although, Pacino and Deniro are superb 4 stars
1/15/06 ronald one of the greatest films of all time 5 stars
1/04/06 John Dog Awesome. 5 stars
12/13/05 cooler superb,superb,superb 5 stars
11/18/05 Chris Barrett THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE!!!! PACINO AND DE NIROU Guys Rule 5 stars
10/15/05 Moctezuma So-so 4 stars
9/24/05 Anthony G WOW, I mean this movie is pretty much perfect next to pulp fiction. 5 stars
8/31/05 ES "you can get killed walking your doggie!'- nicely said Al 4 stars
6/29/05 Naka Moving, beautifully-shot, clever, NEAR PEFECT...except for Judd. Ah well. 5 stars
6/19/05 Steve Newman That is a fantastic film. 3 hours rooted to the edge of my seat - go see!!! 5 stars
5/26/05 Indrid Cold Great juicy characters, performances, and action. Not quite a classic though. 4 stars
10/23/04 UMER pacino is at his usual best but deniro really takes the cake here 4 stars
9/21/04 Theresa Sas far above excellence 5 stars
8/01/04 Raf Milis De Niro versus Pacino..the logical outcome...remise 5 stars
7/07/04 Denise De Niro and Pacino that says it all 5 stars
4/09/04 IP Freeley this movie is legendary... one of Pacino's best way better than Scarface 5 stars
3/29/04 LusT4DetH Best Urban Gun Fight on film 5 stars
3/25/04 Chuck I think this is a very good movie. Great cast & shootout scene (starts 1:40 into movie) 5 stars
1/26/04 Eric My two favorite actors against each other.It dont get any better than that.A great cast 5 stars
12/21/03 M Great acting, tons of great scenes, great atmosphere, great soundtrack.... Great movie! 5 stars
11/28/03 john best crime movie ever made - the shootout is all people say it is and more 5 stars
8/18/03 AD pacino and derniro rule 5 stars
8/15/03 J The gunshout was one of my favorites parts. 4 stars
6/15/03 rory grat shotout scene ever 4 stars
4/10/03 Jack Sommersby Mediocre material enlivened by great direction. De Niro's best perf in years. 3 stars
3/11/03 Estevan Lapena Above average. 4 stars
12/29/02 Femme_Fataleaa Yeah, this one sucked rocks! 1 stars
12/16/02 IP Freely If you didn't like this movie, you are a retard. Plain and simple 5 stars
11/01/02 Monster W. Kung Mann is one of the most overrated directors, ever. That said, this is actually good stuff. 4 stars
7/15/02 R.W. Welch Well scripted and acted cops and robbers pic though not especially original. 4 stars
2/25/02 Butterbean Hands down..the BEST cops and robbers flick. Even better than L.A. Confidential 5 stars
1/27/02 Alan For all you morons who didn't like it, I'm sorry there weren't enough gun battles. 5 stars
1/23/02 Dan Hogan Awe inspiring cast misused by movie without script or director. Sucks rocks. 1 stars
12/08/01 Chris Very good movie worth while seeing 5 stars
12/08/01 Jim DeNiro vs. Pacino: Think "Clash of the Titans" without all that pesky Greek mythology 5 stars
12/03/01 phil m. afficiando Engaging film with action and emotion; last scenes were too "hollywoody" though. 4 stars
11/28/01 KMG I tried to like this movie, but it was just so damn boring 2 stars
10/29/01 Tribe The finest piece of cinema since Debbie Does Dallas 2000 5 stars
10/29/01 Tim Griffin This is one of the best movies ever made! 5 stars
10/28/01 Shams Huque Absolutely awesome film! This is how films SHOULD be made! 5 stars
10/10/01 Scott McKibben hands down, incredible movie 5 stars
9/02/01 Butterbean Definantly the best DeNiro has been on film. A cops and robbers film that wasn't formulatic 5 stars
8/08/01 E-Funk Michael Mann always delivers...this follows the same cool trend. 4 stars
7/27/01 Henry Ginsberg Riveting from start to finish .De Niro is God 5 stars
5/13/01 The Bomb 69 I felt for the bad guys, kudos Mr. Mann!!! 5 stars
3/19/01 vpitman More of an art flick than a gangster movie. Some beautiful shots at the end. Good story. 5 stars
2/12/01 Jake Bank shootout was eerily similar to N. Hollywood incident. 4 stars
1/02/01 Msitrab Excellent Movie 5 stars
12/24/00 bub best de niro film ever 5 stars
12/18/00 Artist Freak An awesome movie, great chemistry, great characters, Al Pacino at his screaminest 5 stars
11/19/00 The EVIL Penguin the shootout looks just like the one in North Hollywood 4 stars
10/31/00 Bill Neal One of the best films of the 90s!! High power energy!Great acting and shootout!! 5 stars
10/28/00 steven hargreaves best acting, best cast, best shoot out sceen ever, a all time classic 5 stars
10/11/00 Gregg Buchanan this film blew me away,Michael Mann clearly caring about the characters majorand minoralike 4 stars
7/13/00 ID Great direction, great performances, great shootout 5 stars
3/09/00 Matthew Bartley Sorry, but this is soooo overrated 2 stars
12/06/99 I killed Kenny Totally origional movie, a must for everyones video library. 5 stars
11/16/99 Don Valdez Deniro and Pacino... greatest duo ever. 5 stars
11/05/99 Anthony Ellis One of the most brilliant thrillers ever. 5 stars
10/28/99 Ralf Behet Superbly crafted and very well acted. Utterly compelling. Not to be missed. 5 stars
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  15-Dec-1995 (R)
  DVD: 22-Feb-2005

  02-Feb-1996 (15)
  DVD: 01-Nov-1999

  15-Feb-1996 (MA)

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