on 9 January 2013
I agree with almost every other review written here. This is one top class film - plot, cast, action, dialogue, character development... you name it, brilliant!
However, this is a prime example of poor quality Blu-Ray conversion, does not do the format much justice at all. Seems as though it has been rushed through the conversion process far too quickly.
1) The sound quality is lacking. This is particularly noticeable during loud action sequences, for example, even within the first 10 minutes during the fantastic 'secured car hold-up' scene - when the articulated lorry hits the van there is shocking sound quality: harsh and crackly, detracts from the film really. Gun shot sounds don't pack much punch either!
2) Picture quality is good but not what I'd expect from a Blu-Ray - particularly grainy in low light scenes (first noticeable in the enquiry Al Pacino's character makes after the hold-up).
Overall I am pleased because I now own my first copy of this film after a friend introduced me to it. But I am slightly disappointed that the film is not up to the usual high quality standard to be expected from a Blu-Ray! Hencce, 4 stars!
This is one of my favourite films, and I now have it in three versions. I won't review the film as such, because others do it better, but mention has of course to go to the magnificent shoot-out. I could watch that again and again.
Anyway, to the blu-ray: The picture quality is better than DVD, but certainly not reference material. I was pretty disappointed by the sound, to be honest. I have a fairly decent system set quite loud, but found the dialogue to be quite indistinct at times. I also felt that the background music was simply too low in places. However, the shoot-out was pretty good, with glass tinkling at my feet, but the airport scene had the best effects, with massive LFE from taxi-ing planes and great directional effects from take-offs and landings.
Is it worth the upgrade? If you love the film like many do, you'll buy it anyway, as I did. I don't regret it, but feel that it can still get better, which means yet another upgrade in the future.
on 7 January 2010
This is quite simply one of the finest movies of the last 20 years. The acting, direction, production and cinematography are all of the very best quality. This movie is well known for 2 things in particular. Firstly, for a while it was the only film in which Pacino and De Niro shared the screen *at the same time*. That has since been done again in Righteous Kill, but that was a vastly inferior movie to this. Secondly, as has been pointed out elsewhere, it contains the best heist shootout scene ever filmed. Along with the opening 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan, this scene is one of the most intense use of firearms you'll ever likely to see on screen, with the phenominal sound of high powered rifles echoing off the buildings of downtown LA - if you have a home cinema system, turn it up for this scene, the background music is faded as the shooting begins and it is an audio assault on your ears. Fantastic atmosphere.
However away from those two well known facts about this film, there's more to it. Pacino's portrayal of the sociopath cop is so perfect, it almost makes De Niro's performance - which is excellent in it's own right - seem a bit average. Some have criticised it for being too long - I can only imagine that they didn't get it. In fact, even after nearly 3 hours, I was wanting to know more about the characters and the fascinating dynamic between Hanna (Pacino) and McCauley (De Niro).
If you like popcorn cop or action movies like Lethal Weapon and Mission Impossible (and that's not meant as an insult - the type of movie that Heat is, can be an acquired taste), you will probably find this heavy going. But if you like fine acting, realistic action scenes and fine attention to detail, you need to make this part of your collection. It's one of those movies like Shawshank Redemption, that you can watch many times over and enjoy the scenes you knew were coming and the parts you forgot were there. Oh, and for less than a fiver, it's an absolute steal.
on 17 May 2008
It's taken me years to pluck up the courage to this masterpiece. Much hyperbole has been written.. and it's all true. The re make of LA takedown and based on real life events in Chicago, Heat is Shakespearian dissection of it's two leads. Neil Mc Cauley (De Niro) is a cold blooded ruthless perfectionist, a man alone but not lonely, someone cool , not showey and prone to sudden acts of brutality or kindness. Vincent hanna (pacino) is his foil, a manic lunatic of a cop obssessed with tracking his prey, 2 marriages down and the third one crumbling, his suffering wife has to share him with all the filth of the city. A robbery goes wrong where the security guards are all shot courtesy of new team member Wayne Grove. Pacino is brought in to hunt the team down. Through bugging Slick (Tom Sizemore) he latches on and monitors the gang as they prepare their Opus magnus. He admires his nemesis so much that he has a coffee with him in what must be one of the most classic pieces of modern cinema. Both are a mirror image of each other. De Niro must do his job and Pacino will do his. Neither can change their spots, De Niro has to choose between his woman or settling some scores, Pacino must choose between his faltering marriage and troubled step daughter but can't resist the lure of the hunt. The character exposition is as good as ever commited to celluloid, the final shoot out is scarily realistic, the city looks beautiful is Mann's cerulean blue also seen in "Collateral" the cast is superb, Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Ashley Judd, Hank Azaria, and even good old Senator/President Palmer Dennis haybert. Even good ol' Bubba from forest gump crops up as Pacino's colleagues. This is about as good as cinema gets believe the hype and own the film.
on 26 November 2012
I've just bought the steelbook version of this, having previously owned the DVD. The picture quality is great, as you'd expect. Unfortunately the film is still dogged by poor sound levels. I must've adjusted the volume at least 30 times during the film - and even had to put subtitles on for some of it. Very disappointing - though not wholly unexpected to be honest. Heat - Premium Collection Steelbook (Blu-ray + UV Copy)[Region Free]
on 25 November 2009
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.
Michael Mann's 1995 film is more than just the long overdue screen appearance of Pacino and De Niro together. It's true it was a selling point (and pushed heavily in the promo stage) it's good to see both in action, but that doesn't make a good film on it's own.
For starters you have a very strong supporting cast including Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Ashley Judd, all of whom put in solid performances.
The story is simple enough Neil McCauley (De Niro) heads a gang who are rather fond of robbery, but they're an experienced outfit and know their stuff, the film kicks off with an armoured car robbery..but thing go too far when a gang member Waingro (played menacingly by Kevin Gage) turns a robbery into a murder investigation after killing the guards.
Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) heads up the investigation, and what follows is a clever and compelling cat and mouse game between himself and Neil, trying to outsmart each other at every turn. Neil decides to do one big last robbery and his crew agree, but Vincent is onto the gang and is out to stop them.
What follows is probably the best action robbery sequence to take place in a film (that I've seen), a sizzling 10 minutes of full on white knuckle action... just on it's own worth the price of entry. Even today I'm still impressed at this segment.
Though the two main members are at opposites, one a criminal and one a cop, there is a mutual respect between the men and Mann manages to capture this in some good scenes, esp one where De Niro is pulled over and Pacino takes him for a coffee.
There are some side plots, Pacino's on the ropes marriage and De Niro finds a new love interest, both at odds with the life the men lead. Pacino does have his usual rage scene (and he's good at it in a way few actors are) Eventually it's a show down between the two men one on one, I found the ending quite unusual and very welcomed it's not quite what you would think and the better for it in my view.
Mann has a way of directing that's full on intense and polished, he's able to really ramp up the drama to epic levels, backed up by his many time award winning cinematographer Dante Spinotti, the results are impressive and take things to a level many directors couldn't. Sound work is also excellent, as is the screenplay. I find the script good, more natural and rather less clichéd then some (people talking to each other in a normal way), you can attach to the characters quite well (all of them not just the lead two)
I like Mann's slightly OTT direction it pushes things hard and makes for a strong viewing experience.
It's true some complain the story might drag on a little longer than it could, there are some non essential scenes that could have got the chop, but as a package overall you can't help but be impressed.
on 29 January 2016
Firstly i absolutely love this movie and have done since its release in 1995 with Hollywood Royalty actors Robert De Niro & Al Pacino
However whichever cretin!! in whatever company was responsible for this shambles of an upgrade needs a slap and sacking on the spot
The picture is no better than DVD and not in this lifetime is it 1080p or HD
As for the sound WHAT SOUND?? the vocal audio is non existent and no attempt whatsoever has been made to sync and marry the vocal audio with the back ground sound effects of car chases shooting helicopters etc, so what you are left with is an absolute dogs dinner which is an insult to this brilliant movie
Even my system which is high end Denon Transport linked to a Denon AV and Focal Dome 5.1 Speakers could do nothing with this mess of a Blu Ray
I turned the volume up to 70 which is wall shakingly loud on my system and still i could barely hear what the actors were saying
I was going to say that this is a DVD in a Blu Ray box but its not even that and it would insult DVDs even to say that
Brilliant movie but avoid this sorry excuse for a Blu Ray like the Bubonic Plague as it is so bad that De Niro & Pacino should sue for their dialogue being virtually reduced to Mute Setting
An insult to the actors director and everyone else that made this superb movie
Truly disgraceful and bordering on fraud to sell this to the public as a 1080p HD Blu Ray upgrade and the most disturbing thing here is that some so called professional!!! (don't make me laugh) in a remastering studio actually viewed and passed this utter disgrace of a remaster as acceptable to sell to the public under the Blu Ray format banner
Finally please Amazon introduce a Zero Star Rating system as this shameless rip off con of a Blu Ray does not even deserve the minimum default 1 Star i was forced to give here
on 25 July 2013
First things first;
I went to the cinema to see this movie when it came out many moons ago, and I was captivated by the screen presence of both; De Niro and Pacino.
Along with a great supporting cast, great script and a top Director, I knew without seeing it that; it was going to be something special.
From the off this film shows what a great writer Michael Mann is too, a very clever and 'Not' over the top crime caper. The film flows easily from each character to the other, telling their own individual little stories that are all intertwined towards the conclusion, which is edge of the seat stuff and again brilliantly played out by the main two actors.
Although I'm not the biggest Al Pacino fan in the world, He played his part to perfection and I could not picture a different actor playing his part, De Niro is flawless as always and Val Kilmer also plays a great right hand man in probably; his last great part.
I gave this film top marks as I've owned it on every format that it has being available on and; I'll be upgrading it when the new format comes out. I've seen and cannot believe someone has giving it only ONE star, clearly they must have; 1)NOT watched the film in its entirety and, 2)Has a really short attention span.
On a whole this movie has everything, GREAT Acting, GREAT Story, and a GREAT Feel to it.
The Blu-ray steelbook edition does not have any additional footage added to the movie yet; offers deleted scenes.
The artwork is good inside and out, the only problem is still the same one that has flawed every other version of the movie and; that's the sound, it's the one thing that; outside the cinema has let it down, but still a improvement on previous editions.
I would HIGHLY recommend this movie to anyone; who has yet to see it as ALL the cast are on top form and JUST the fact that it's BRILLIANT!!
Hope this helps and once again WATCH IT because it's FAB!
on 5 April 2013
'Heat' is a 90s classic that, arguably, rejuvenated the flagging careers of the two leads, and unlike most films of that era, it will endure. I am something of a fan of director Michael Mann and this film is, in my view, his best work. It's lengthy (perhaps a little too long, to be fair), but it is well-directed and well-acted - with a true ensemble cast. The story is a classic confrontation between an obsessive LAPD detective (Al Pacino) and a ruthless organised criminal (Robert De Niro), whose forte is robbing banks. The motor of the story is the need for Paino's character to guess De Niro's next-move, and the need for De Niro always to be one step ahead. As the latter's character says: "Do not let yourself get attached to anything that you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner." He comes close to betraying this maxim, close but not quite.
There is a famous scene in a coffee shop, in which the two iconic lead actors appear together in the same shot for the first time in their careers. I actually tend toward the view that Pacino is rather an overrated actor, but in 'Heat' we see him actualise his promise and talent. This was his best work since 'Serpico' and 'The Godfather' in the early 70s. There are also some spectacular action sequences in this movie - including a famous bank robbery scene - however, 'Heat' is not a typical Michael Mann filmic experience. Yes, we have the dramatic music and the spectacular set-pieces, but there is also much depth in this film. In 'Heat', the cops and robbers are shown to occupy a symbiotic space in which they depend on each other, and are perhaps closer than they might care to admit. There is also poignancy in that the thieves - the criminals - are not presented in the usual obtunded way, but in fact have complex lives and desires that might, just might, one day take them from criminality to normalcy. Still, they remain professional thieves and the singular, driving motivation of De Niro's character is to steal enough to retire. Life happens in the meantime, and his own feelings and sense of loneliness cause him to compromise the '30 seconds' protective code and begin a meaningful relationship.
What's fascinating is how Michael Mann balances the two sets of production values, moving skilfully between in-depth character exploration and major action sequences. This is done by offering the viewer a juxtaposition between the 'normal' aspects of the criminal's lives and their 'work', conveying the point that, for these criminals, it's a lifestyle, a habit, and a pattern of living that in some ways has its own appeal and is difficult to escape from. Even for De Niro's more experienced and level-headed character, 'one last job' is just too tempting a prospect. The grim consequences of this failing are told here with weary inevitability: a fatal confrontation between law and criminality is on the cards. What this film reminds us is that these two communities are equal sides of the same coin. The glimpse this film gives us into their lives is a pastiche, but in a way it is no more unreal than the weirdness and tragedy that pass for reality.