PictureI noticed some grain in the darker scenes along with a few scratches and nicks that appear throughout the movie, but this is never overly distracting. Something else I noticed was a strange subtle, yet apparent shift to the movie's colour palette - around 00:54:32 as Eady (Amy Brenneman) takes the phone from her ear there is a shift from red to blue lighting and again around 02:10:57 - when Mr. Pacino is about to let loose his temper just before he grabs his television - there is a clear shift back to red. I've checked this with the region 1 release and it suffers the same changeable colour changes so I assume both have been taken from the same master. I did not notice any edge enhancement at all and the image is nicely detailed and reasonably sharp. Other than the strange quirks mentioned the image is generally good for a film dating from 1995 - not quite up to what we have come to expect from the latest blockbuster movies, but by no means poor.
SoundMost prospective purchasers of this Region 2 Japanese release of Heat will no doubt be attracted by the DTS (754Kbps) track included here, which is definitely a step up compared to the Dolby Digital 384Kbps track from the Region 1 release. Also included is a Dolby Digital 448Kbps track - any differences between this and the DTS version is fairly minor. Explosions are deep and powerful and the nicely rhythmic soundtrack enhances both threatening action sequences as well as the quieter, more dialogue driven moments. It's a shame that surround channels remain a little underused, though and a lot of the action remains front soundstage oriented.
There are a few standout moments audio wise and I feel I need to mention the shootout scene in particular. For me there is simply too much echo to the gunshots and whether this was deliberate, in order to engender the feeling of being in downtown L.A. or is merely a sign of the age of the movie I do not know. I do know that it just doesn't sound quite right, and for such a famous scene that I have read so much about I was left feeling a little disappointed - perhaps my expectations ran too high here.
ExtrasThe supplemental material film credits listings of Michael Mann, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer and Ashley Judd are included - albeit in Japanese, along with two trailers for the movie. Not a lot to get your teeth into, then - even if you are able to read Japanese!
VerdictDespite a few picture flaws the main strength of this release lies in the improved audio quality over it's region 1 counterpart. If you are not bothered by the lack of extras this Japanese release with both DTS and Dolby Digital soundtracks is about as good as Heat gets.
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