PictureAs with the Japanese Region 2 DTS Edition, I 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. The 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, where there is a shift from red to blue lighting, and again at around 02:10:57 - when Mr. Pacino is about to let loose his temper just before he grabs his television - here there is a clear shift back to red - remains exactly the same with this new, two disc release. I assume they share the same master. Edge enhancement remains conspicuous by its absence, lending a nicely detailed and reasonably sharp image. Other than the strange quirks mentioned the picture quality 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.
SoundSo far, any comparisons between the Japanese edition and this new Region 1 two disc release will likely leave the viewer feeling that there is little to choose between the two. However, most prospective purchasers of the Japanese version will no doubt be attracted by the DTS (754Kbps) track included. Interestingly, not only is there no DTS track in sight here, but the Dolby Digital offering is, as in its original Region 1 incarnation, of the 384Kbps variety - a step down from its counterpart's 448Kbps track. As before, explosions remain deep and powerful and the nicely rhythmic soundtrack enhances both threatening action sequences as well as the quieter, more dialogue driven moments.
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, and still am.
ExtrasMichael Mann's audio commentary is an interesting one, and his perfectionist persona comes through clearly throughout, but it's the second disc that holds the bulk of supplemental features... First up is The Making Of Heat, which is comprised of three mini-documentaries - True Crime, a fifteen minute short comprising interviews with Michael Mann and actors Robert De Niro (from 1995), Al Pacino, Tom Sizemore, Val Kilmer, and Jon Voight, as well as input from ex-police officers; Crime Stories and Into The Fire are really just twenty and and twenty four minute continuations along the same, expanding theme.
Pacino And De Niro: The Conversation is dedicated to the two great actors' restaurant meeting scene, and an enjoyable and insightful ten minute feature it is, too.
The 11 deleted/alternative scenes make for an absorbing watch - I found Where's Ana? and Double The Worst Trouble most interesting viewing... although to be fair, it's all too obvious why most of these scenes were cut.
And that's about it...
VerdictSo, if you don't already own Heat, which should you choose between the, more expensive, Japanese release and this new 2 disc American offering? I guess the choice is really between the DTS and 448Kbps Dolby tracks of the Eastern R2 edition and the extra features available here. Me? I'm undecided, but if I had to choose - I'd go for this new 2 discer. Then again, if I could find the Japanese release cheap enough...
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