Source: IMP Awards
Having experienced a number of fantastic gangster films on the Empire 5-star list, I was very much looking forward to Heat. Be warned though - anyone expecting a Godfather-esque Pacino/De Niro gangster movie will be vastly disappointed. Heat is a crime film, with De Niro as Neil McCauley, the bad guy with a good life and Pacino as Lt. Vincent Hanna, the good cop with a bad life.
It opens to a wondrously clockwork robbery with Val Kilmer getting in on the gung-ho action. Naturally it doesn't go without a hitch, leaving De Niro forced to outcast a member of his crew. So, while he continues to watch his back in case Pacino shows up to bust him, he now needs to keep a beady eye out for the ostracised member of the gang who is seeking revenge.
The criminal plans are laid out well throughout and this certainly helps to get across the cool persona of McCauley - this is a role which Robert De Niro plays throughout his career and it is interesting to think that both him and Pacino could have played either of the protagonist roles.
Overall though, I was disappointed with Heat. I'd set a high bar for a film containing Empire's two highest rated actors (ranked by number of 5-star films), and perhaps this didn't help. In places it drags on considerably and the nigh on three hour run time could easily have been shortened. Halfway through the film, a scene which feels like the final gunfight is played out and from then on, much of the film just feels like an alternate ending.
It is then, with great regret that I have to rank Heat with disappointment. Michael Mann's films will crop up later on in the 500 with Public Enemies and Last of the Mohicans so maybe he can regain some lost credibility.