Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Two-Disc Special Edition
Actors: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
HUNTERS & THEIR PREY--NEIL & HIS PROFESSIONAL CRIMINAL CREW HUNTTO SCORE BIG MONEY TARGETS (BANKS, VAULTS, ARMORED CARS) & ARE, IN TURN, HUNTED BY LT. VINCENT HANNA & HIS TEAM OF COPS. ABOTCHED JOB PUTS HANNA ON THEIR TRAI... more »
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Laurie B. from SEASIDE, CA
Reviewed on 11/29/2009...
Career thief Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) leads a team of criminals, including longtime friends Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), Michael Cheritto (Tom Sizemore), and Trejo (Danny Trejo), who carry out a carefully planned armored car heist, stealing US$1.6 million in bearer bonds from Malibu Equity Investments, a shell company run by Roger Van Zant (William Fichtner) that launders drug money through offshore bank accounts. The robbery is complicated by new member Waingro (Kevin Gage) impulsively murdering a guard, forcing the team to execute the remaining guards—potential witnesses—and escape. After the robbery, McCauley meets with his fence, Nate (Jon Voight), who suggests selling the bonds back to Van Zant for 60% of their value instead of laundering them at 60% cost; since the bonds were insured for 100% of their value, Van Zant would make 40% of 1.6 million above his bond insurance while McCauley and his team would gain an additional 20% on top of their expected take.
Later, McCauley and his crew meet at a diner to discuss dividing the money from the robbery. Enraged about the robbery, escalated to capital murder by Waingro, McCauley and his crew attempt to kill Waingro, but when a passing police car distracts them, Waingro escapes. Meanwhile, Van Zant agrees to buy the bonds back, but instructs his men to ambush McCauley at the meeting and take the bonds back. With help from his crew, McCauley escapes the ambush and vows revenge.
Investigating the armored car heist, Lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) of the elite LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division learns through informants and surveillance McCauley and his crew are planning to rob a precious metals warehouse. Hiding inside a parked truck, Hanna and his team stake out the warehouse and prepare to arrest McCauley and his crew, but a restless SWAT team member clumsily bumps the side of the truck, alerting McCauley to the stakeout. McCauley warns his crew, and they abandon the robbery. Realizing he cannot arrest the crew for robbery unless they have stolen the metals, Hanna allows them to escape.
McCauley meets with his crew and warns them of the surveillance, and tells them they must decide if their next robbery—a bank holdup with an estimated $12 million payoff, which would allow McCauley to retire—is worth the risk. Each crew member agrees to the robbery, and the investigation and subsequent planning highlight how each character's commitment to his profession has severely damaged his personal life: Hanna's third marriage to wife Justine (Diane Venora) is in the early stages of a breakdown, due to his grueling work schedule and troubled stepdaughter Lauren (Natalie Portman), Justine's child from a previous marriage; Shiherlis' relationship with his wife Charlene (Ashley Judd) is hampered by his crippling gambling addiction, pushing her into an extramarital affair with another man (Hank Azaria). Only McCauley, who lives a solitary existence that forbids attachments and stresses mobility, finds his life renewed from a budding relationship with Eady (Amy Brenneman), a kind, naïve graphic designer who believes him to be a metal salesman.
Hanna deliberately intercepts McCauley and invites him to coffee at a local diner. During their tense meeting, McCauley tells Hanna that he won't go back to prison, no matter the cost. Hanna talks about a recurrent dream he has, where he is in a coffee shop surrounded by dead persons he once knew, and they stare at him with empty eyes, in silence. McCauley speaks about how he usually dreams that he is drowning and must wake up to take air before he dies. They talk about their relations, and McCauley says that his rule is "never let yourself get attached to anything that you can't leave behind in thirty seconds if you feel the heat around the corner". The two professionals examine each other; despite their positive impressions, each reveals that he would not hesitate to kill the other if the situation demands it. Meanwhile, Waingro approaches Van Zant and offers him a way to get rid of McCauley.
The next day McCauley and his unit move erratically around L.A. in an effort to shake Hanna's tails and arrange to meet up at a pre-determined location, a small cafe. Trejo, however, does not turn up and we are led to believe he could not shake his tail due to Hanna putting two tails on him in effort to consolidate his losses. In the cafe McCauley recognises an old inmate, Donald Breeden (Dennis Haysbert), McCauley approaches him with the offer of being the getaway driver in their heist. Donald, frustrated in his job where he is treated poorly due to his criminal record, accepts the job. Donald walks out on his job despite the fact that he risks losing his current lover.
The robbery already in progress, Hanna and his team (augmented by uniformed police officers) arrive at the bank, surprising McCauley and his crew as they are leaving. An intense gunfight breaks out in downtown L.A., the robbers blasting their way past police blockades in a bid for freedom. Cherrito and Breeden are killed in the shootout; on the other side, several police officers are slain, including Bosko (Ted Levine), one of Hanna's teammates. McCauley escapes, and takes a wounded Shiherlis to an illegal doctor (Jeremy Piven).
Realizing he has been betrayed, McCauley visits Trejo's house and finds Trejo near death and his wife dead, they have been tortured and brutalised by Waingro. With his last breaths, Trejo reveals Waingro and Van Zant leaked news of the robbery to the police. At his request McCauley shoots the dying Trejo and drives to Van Zant's house, where he demands to know Waingro's whereabouts. Van Zant is ignorant of his location, and McCauley executes him.
Learning about Van Zant's death, Hanna realizes McCauley will next seek revenge against Waingro, now hiding in a hotel room under a false name and monitored by police, and orders his team to spread information about Waingro's location to bait McCauley. Meanwhile, the police move Charlene Shiherlis and her son Dominic to a safe house where Sgt. Drucker (Mykelti Williamson) explains Charlene will be charged as an accessory to her husband's crime and her son relocated to a foster home if she doesn't surrender Chris to the police. Chris appears hours later with an altered appearance to disguise his identity. Despite their marital problems, Charlene surreptitiously warns him about the police presence, the two sharing one last emotional look before Chris returns to his car and inconspicuously departs.
McCauley returns to Eady and breaks his longstanding creed, compelling her to flee with him to New Zealand. As he finalizes his plans, Nate reveals Waingro's whereabouts to McCauley. Confident with his escape plan, McCauley impulsively takes the bait and infiltrates the hotel, activating the fire alarm to vacate the hotel. With the hotel security and police distracted, McCauley barges in and murders Waingro before beginning his escape. Moments later, Hanna arrives at the hotel and from a distance observes Eady waiting in McCauley's car. As he approaches, McCauley emerges from the building and noticing Hanna, hesitantly defaults to his "thirty seconds" rule and abandons Eady, disappearing into the crowd with Hanna in pursuit. Following a tense cat-and-mouse chase in the darkness of the LAX freight terminal, McCauley nearly gets the drop on Hanna, but when a plane pass by above them, Hanna sees McCauley's shadow and manages to shoot him first, leaving McCauley clinging to life in the fields of the adjoining runways. McCauley tells Hanna "I told you I'm never going back". Hanna answers "yeah". Hanna holds McCauley's hand as a mark of mutual respect. Together, the two share a final, quiet moment of reflection and understanding as McCauley dies. Hanna looks at the horizon. There is nothing surrounding them, except city lights and darkness.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
What a total disappointment of a Blu-Ray! :( There should be
Martin Andersen | Bergen, Norway | 11/24/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This release truly was a gargantuan disappointment. "Heat" is one of my all-time favorites and Michael Mann one of my favorite directors. I actually did not have huge expectations to this first incarnation of Heat on Blu-Ray--knowing the problems that exist on both the original 1999 DVD release (which I might add was pretty ok at the time, but not by today's standards) and the subsequent 2005 "Special Edition" (which had some interesting extras and commentary, but no change to the feature itself.)
But I mean honestly, I am in awe that not only does this disc have basically _the same_ audio track (re-encoded into Dolby TrueHD)--complete with the same muffled audio which for the most part totally lacks any kind of force, and dialogue which in some places is so low it borders on being ridiculous.
I can honestly say that it had no improvement, whatsoever, over the Japanese DTS edition which was released a couple of years back (which also is far from perfect.)
Ok, granted. The audio is not 100%--that I might be able to live with. After all--this is close to being my favorite movie. However, it also has received a *minimal* upgrade on the video side.
No, I am not referring to the inherent film grain. This disc has many scenes which look like they are taken straight off the original DVD and upscaled to 1080p. The lack of detail is most prominent when pausing the movie at certain scenes. Background detail also varies strongly throughout. Yes, it is a Blu-Ray and obviously it will look better than the DVD but I have a quite respectable stack of older movies which completely puts this release in the dust. The bitrate is for the most part around 15-22Mbit/s, peaking at just under 30 in some cases; but seldom reaching this point.
Just to illustrate that minimal care has been given to the video aspect, note that it even has the _exact same_ color-change problem which occurs after Amy Brenneman's character (Eady) hangs up the phone with McCauley / De Niro (at 54:32)
While this is all bad enough, later on I actually notice that some of the dialogue has been *CUT OUT*. (Why haven't other reviewers noticed this?) Specifically where Diane Venora's character (Justine) is talking to Vincent Hanna / Pacino after the office party has ended. From the passage below, the first part ("you sift through the detritus") has been omitted(!). I actually had to rewind to verify this, as this kind of thing is pretty unusual, and not something I've noticed on any of the previous DVD versions:
You sift through the detritus, you read the terrain, you search for signs of passing, for the scent of your prey ... and then you hunt them down. That's the only thing you're committed to. The rest is the mess you leave as you pass through."
Just to make it clear--this was not some one-off problem with my disc or equipment causing it to skip ahead at that particular juncture. No drop-outs to the digital audio signal was witnessed either.
To me, cutting out dialogue (especially something as relevant and beautifully phrased) in such a fashion is completely baffling. I don't know what on earth happened to this release while it was mastered on Blu-Ray, but this just topped it all off and prompted me to eject the disc. I could not bear to see what other flaws or edits it might have been subjected to.
I might add that, never once have I not watched this movie to the end. And I have watched it probably 30 times. But this was truly an abysmal experience. Warner, are you listening? You have plenty of other awe-inspiring releases, and some which are decades older than this one which look (and some which sound) a zillion times better--Superman, North by Northwest, The Road Warrior, Bullitt, The Dirty Dozen--to name a few.
After I submit this review I will create a return request for this item. I urge all others who truly love this movie to do the same; and not put up with what is basically a repackaged & cut version of the original DVD.
What a waste of a truly great disc format."
A Crime Saga to Remember
Michael Crane | Orland Park, IL USA | 05/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are two of my favorite actors. So when I found out that they would be in a movie together, I was very excited to see it. "Heat" is a crime saga masterpiece that mixes drama and film noir together. Combine all of those elements together and you get one hell of a movie.
Pacino plays a L.A. detective who is obsessed with his job. He has dedicated his life to put away every single criminal in the state. Much so that he has become obsessed with his job. De Niro plays a criminal who loves to go on heists. A professional he is, and he never gets caught. Soon, the two's lives collide with each other and all hell breaks out. Pacino becomes obsessed with catching De Niro. He will not rest until he is locked up.
That is only half of the story. There are many stories in this crime drama that interact with each other. Other great actors in this film include Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Ashley Judd, Jon Voight, and many more. Every character is unique in his or her way.
The director/writer does an excellent job of making us feel sympathy for the characters, even the bad ones. He has created a very dark and gloomy world in which nothing is certain. Problems lurk around every corner, ready to destroy each person. Don't be mistaken, this isn't an action flick. This is more of a film noir if anything. It's dark, the tone is somber, and it doesn't have the happiest ending. Although there is a bank heist scene in the movie that has to be one of the best action sequences in a long time.
As much as I love Robert De Niro, and he does a great job portraying his character, Pacino steals the show. It's one of his best roles in recent years. He's vulgar, rude, offensive, and short-tempered. But, he also has a heart, and you get to see that as the movie progresses. As serious as his character is supposed to be, he has some of the funniest lines you will ever hear him say. He definitely wins "best actor" in my book.
Again, this isn't an action film. It is very long (almost three hours), and it is very story oriented. The film concentrates on character development the most. This is a great film that realistically portrays these kinds of characters. This is a movie about choices and consequences, and you're not exactly sure how the movie will end. A very good movie that should've received more recognition.
P.S. I haven't had the chance to check out the special features on this DVD. From what I remember, there isn't too many. But that would be because the movie is so long, and it's all on one side."
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 03/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"10 years after the release of Michael Mann's epic crime tour de force, Heat is still an absolute masterpiece. Originally a screenplay which sat on the shelf for almost twenty years before being greenlit, Heat is the perfect character driven crime drama. Mann pits Al Pacino and Robert De Niro as a dueling cop and crook whose lives bear stunning resemblances to themselves. Vincent (Pacino) becomes obsessed in his case to help escape the reality of his failing marriage, while Neil (De Niro) is a cool, calm, collected and disciplined master thief who, with his skilled team (including Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore) are planning a heist which will change everyone involved forever. This portrait of these people and their failing personal lives sacrificed for their obsessive careers makes Heat the best film to come from Mann, and undoubtadly the best big budget crime drama to come out of the 90's. The face off between Pacino and De Niro is a film buff's dream, and the climactic LA shootout is possibly one of the best action sequences in cinematic history. The rest of the cast, which includes Jon Voight, Diane Venora, Natalie Portman, Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd, Mykelti Williamson, Wes Studi, Ted Levine, Kevin Gage, Denis Haysbert, William Fichtner, Danny Trejo, Henry Rollins, Tom Noonan, and Hank Azaria, does brilliant work. Truly a cinematic masterpiece. This new 2-disc Special Edition from Warner Bros. contains a great commentary from Mann and a few nice featurettes, but the deleted scenes are hardly worth watching and add nothing to the film."