HEAT (1995) is a remake, but not of the underrated 1986 Burt Reynolds movie HEAT (which was later remade as WILD CARD) – it’s Michael Mann’s second try at the story he turned into his 1989 TV pilot L.A. TAKEDOWN. Which was good! This is better. A controversial statement, but I stand by it.
It’s possibly Mann’s best movie, and certainly ranks high among crime movies of the ‘90s (which is saying something), in my view a masterpiece of the genre. It has that rare quality of feeling like a sprawling epic and a simple, intimate story at the same time. Like a Sergio Leone movie in that one specific sense.
It is pretty simple, in the same way that MANHUNTER is. You’ve got these two men who are on opposite sides of the law, which makes their lives pretty similar. They respect each other’s professionalism but, unlike John Woo characters, would sooner shoot each other than be on the same side. Pretty early in the movie, famously – legendarily, really – they suddenly parley, have coffee together and talk about it, kind of warn each other but both seem to enjoy talking to somebody else who gets what it’s like to live that life. At the time the hype was about Robert De Niro and Al Pacino doing a scene together – two titans had not come together like this since Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny in WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT – but now that novelty has long since faded and the scene still feels monumental. (read the rest of this shit…)