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Blu-Ray Review: Kino Lorber’s Heat (KL Studio Classics) 


Burt Reynolds stars in Heat.  No, not that Heat starring DeNiro and Pacino but the William Goldman adapted from his own novel action crime thriller.  New to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.  

The Film 

There are Burt Reynolds movies.  Then there are BURT REYNOLDS movies.  Then there’s Heat.  William Goldman’s tale of a Fixer that gets involved in a situation he shouldn’t is the kind of later-era Burt movie. 

That is not to say that it’s a bad movie.  It’s just a movie with moments.  Thought moments though are brilliant and soar. The rest of the film is pedestrian with Burt not necessarily in maximum charm mode.  Heat and its story of ex-Mercenary Nick Escalante (Reynolds) who is hired by people to solve various issues they have.  Escalante has a good heart, but an equally bad gambling habit.  That good heart and his gambling habit get him into more trouble than those around him can handle.  That trouble is slime ball Danny DeMarco (Neill Barry) who after a humiliating incident at the hands of Nick starts a war with the soldier of fortune.  

Part of the issue is what doesn’t work really doesn’t work.  From the relationship between Nick and one of his customers turned Cyrus Kinnick (Peter McNicol).  To the gambling habit and the scenes of Nick’s gambling addiction gripping him.  Which both take entire sections of the second half of the film and just falls flat.  Reynolds looks bored and has no sort of emotional life in the film.  There’s nothing that shows you that Nick cares or begins to start a friendship with Cyrus.  Nor does he have any readings when it comes to his addiction.  It’s almost comical the deadpan that Reynolds approaches the entire scene.  

That isn’t to say that Heat doesn’t have moments that soar.  The moment between Nick and a client at the beginning in the bar is the kind of adroit writing that you expect from Goldman and is executed with the right tone.  The ending finale with Nick facing off against DeMarco and his team of goons is especially with the kind of smart takedowns by Nick that you want in this style of film.  

In the end, Heat is a middling film with more possibilities than it does in the execution of the material it’s based on. 

The Transfer

The transfer for Heat is a solid consistently sharp Blu-Ray transfer.  There are no issues with the image itself free of blemishes, scratches, or dirt.  Fans of the film will be surprised and delighted with the work done here to bring the film to home video.  

The Extras

They include the following;

  • Audio Commentary by Action Film Historians Brandon Bentley and Mike Leeder
  • Alternate Ending
  • Theatrical Trailer

The all-new Audio Commentary by Action Film Historians Brandon Bentley and Mike Leeder begins with context for just how huge a star that Burt Reynolds was.  Some of the other details include Burt around the time he turned down Terms of Endearments; the various production woes that included multiple directors (including Robert Altman who left the project after they wouldn’t let him bring his Canadian DOP onto the project), the script – written by William Goldman based off his own novel; the awkward strange opening of the film; Reynolds and his friendship with Clint Eastwood – and how it worked at the time; the other adaptation of the same novel Wild Card starring Jason Statham – which leads to a discussion about Burt’s hair and hair pieces; a larger discussion the fall of Burt Reynolds’ star during the Mid-1980s; a larger discussion of trouble productions not just Burt’s films but films throughout the 1980s – it does leads to a discussion about other Reynolds’ films like StickMalone; a discussion about the work of Peter McNicol; a discussion about the work of Karen Young; the sexual politics of the film and a larger discussion about sex workers and positive outlooks; a larger discussion of casinos and gambling – both in the film and their personal accounts about gambling; the revenge scene – and how it all plays out and is directed and scripted; the later career of Reynolds – a larger discussion about Burt’s transition into Television (Evening Shade), his work in indie film, Strip TeaseBoogie Nights, et. al.; a discussion of who is the modern Burt Reynolds; Golden Harvest and Jackie Chan trying to get Burt to star in a Buddy Cop film; a great discussion about character work and brevity – which includes a larger discussion about the economy of the storytelling in the show The Last of Us; and much more.  Bentley and Leeder give a highly entertaining and informative track about a film that is good but not as good as the track itself.  Highest possible recommendations for the track even if you don’t care for the movie.  It’s a winner.  

Alternate Ending (4:51) – The alternate ending gives everyone a “happy ending” including a character that was seriously dead-dead.  The ending is presented in HD.  

Rounding out the special features are trailers for Heat (1:35); Fuzz (2:59); Shamus (3:04); White Lighting (2:26); The Longest Yard (4:04); Hustle (3:14); Gator (1:09); Stick (1:12); Malone (2:00); Breaking In (2:04)

The Final Thought 

Fans of Heat will be happy with the Blu-Ray Edition from Kino Lorber. 

Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray edition of Heat is out April 25th

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