***½/**** Image A Sound A- Extras B
starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Ashley Judd
written and directed by Michael Mann
by Vincent Suarez Michael Mann's Heat is a rare Hollywood action film, indeed. In an era in which the standard studio actioner consists of loosely-motivated bits of plot and character development that merely link one set-piece to the next, the explosive action sequences in Heat fittingly punctuate moments of genuine drama enacted by a wealth of interesting characters. Further, while today's action films are invariably vehicles for the likes of Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Willis, et al, Heat is the rare studio action picture that, despite its own heavyweight stars, is truly an ensemble piece, cast and acted to perfection. And in an age when the standard Hollywood epic spends three hours glossing over the "major events" in its characters' lives, Heat confines its three hours to perhaps a few weeks of "real" time, allowing Mann (who produced, wrote, and directed) to present a drama that is epic in its emotional depth, if not in years.