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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 78:43)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Arabic, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired, Romanian, Bulgarian
  Extras

    Heat

    Warner Bros./Warner Bros. . R4 . COLOR . 164 mins . MA15+ . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    There is always an attraction to the power of a great epic. It seems the epic has made way for Hollywood to push out short-term money makers like a 15 second McDonalds burger rather than an entire evening in a restaurant with a nice juicy eye-fillet steak as the highlight. Why is everyone in such a rush? Why can't people really enjoy a 3 hour movie anymore, especially one like the calibre of Heat?

    Director Michael Mann held a magic wand when making this movie. He waved it through Hollywood and the greats fell in his lap. He tap the Panavision cameras and pure genius was recorded onto the film stock. He left it in his back pocket during the editing process and he wasn't left with a pumpkin at midnight. You know a masterpiece when you see one and this is no exception.

    We follow the lives of your typical cops and robbers folk where one commits the crime and the other tries to catch them. The difference here is that both these lead characters want out. Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) is a professional thief who finds the going gets tough when the heat is turned up. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) is a detective trying to deal with a girlfriend and her daughter as well as devoting his life to bringing down the one man he can't seem to catch, Neil.

    The movie then becomes a battle of wits as each tries to out do each other with some clever tactics as they both know each others personality and characteristics very well. Backed by an all star cast that features Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan), Val Kilmer (The Doors), Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy), Ashley Judd (Double Jepoardy), Hank Azaria and Natalie Portman (The Professional), Heat lives up to its epic nature with it's multiple sub-plots and great performances.

      Video
    Contract

    Start of with the laserdisc edition, follow through with the region 1 dvd and end up with the region 4 disc. At each stage, the latest version always improved on the one before it and this transfer is a slight improvement of it's region 1 cousin.

    Heat is predominantly based during the night, as all good robberies occur, and thus needs to have good deep blacks and fine shadow detail. Shadow detail it has but deep blacks it doesn't. I'm not going to faulter the dvd transfer for this as the film stock used didn't seem to be of high quality.

    What the region 4 discs benefits from is the increased PAL resolution which also provides us with a somewhat cleaner transfer with a little less grain present on the region 1 disc. Add in an anamorphic transfer and this is the best the disc will look outside a HiDef transfer which we will most likely get to see in about 5 years time.

    Having this 160 minute movie spread over two layers was obviously a wise move and the increase in quality is evident.

      Audio
    Contract

    I'll leave that 'scene' until last as the rest of the soundtrack is an excellent compliment to the tone of the film. Michael Mann has taken to the soundtrack responsibly and not gone over the top with his presentation. Whereas others would like to make use of the tens of thousands of dollars in your local cineplex with over-emphasised Bass and proposterous directionaltiy, Mann gives it to you like it is which is a major attraction with this movie.

    Most of the movie is dialogue based where the building of the characters takes place. All dialogue is clear throughout the movie with some sequences that were a little hard to make out than others. This was the case with the theatrical release so it's not a transfer problem. Some of these dialogue scenes are situated in busy locations where alot of ambience is present providing an excellent soundscape for the scene.

    Then we move onto the action sequences. The most bass you'll hear is from the opening raid on the armored van with great use of the Dolby Digital frequency range. The most exhilirating scene is the bank heist shoot-out as it will have to go down in history as the most intense street battle put to film. Only one word can describe what your ears will hear - WOW. If you haven't seen Heat, this scene alone is worth the money

    The musical score is also a contributing factor to the success of the movie with a subdued compliment to any situation on screen. Never does it become more than a heartbeat for the movie.

      Extras
    Contract

    Totally devoid of any extras. You'd probably find more extras if you looked down the back of your couch.

      Overall  
    Contract

    If there is such a thing as an epic crime movie then this is it. The writing caters for the many lives of the many characters in this film and uses up the almost 3 hours to the fullest. It is decently paced and if you like the genre you will be glued to the screen until the very end and seeing Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in the same scene for the first time in movie history culminates in not only a coming together of two acting greats but a coming together, screen wise, of a great cop and a great criminal. Is this meant to signify something here? Who knows but the ending will surely determine whether you liked the movie or not given the outcome of our to main protagonists.

    Extremely highly recommended.


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      And I quote...
    "If there is such a thing as an epic crime movie then this is it"
    - Steve Koukoulas
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-505 Gold
    • TV:
          Hitachi CMT2979 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS777 THX Select
    • Speakers:
          Peterson Labs 100Watts
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sherwood SC-60E
    • Surrounds:
          Sherwood LS-502
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
      Recent Reviews:
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