Directed by: Dick Richards
Starring: Burt Reynolds, Karen Young, Neill Barry, Peter MacNicol, and Howard Hesseman
Nick “Mex” Escalante (Reynolds) is a Las Vegas-based gambler and bodyguard that kind of just drifts through life, going from adventure to adventure - whether it be getting revenge for the rape of his friend Holly (Young) or teaching new acquaintance Cyrus Kinnick (MacNicol) how to defend himself. He just wants to scrape together enough money to move to Venice, but all of his enemies, especially his latest one, Danny DeMarco (Barry) - want to prevent this from happening.
This was the beginning of Burt’s “Not Caring” period. Probably due to circumstances in his personal life, what was probably perceived at the time as just a droll performance, is actually how Burt carried out most of his work from here on in. This movie not only has a slow pace and is talky when there should be action, it seems less like an action movie and more of a rambling drama. The fact that Robert Altman was originally slated to direct makes a lot of sense.
The few action scenes there are happen to be absolutely priceless - they’re very funny. But their humor, whether intentional or not, does not match the tone of the rest of the film. In between the action bits, there are long stretches where, boringly, nothing really goes on. What a wasted opportunity. The DeMarco crime family should have sent more goons after Burt and he can dispatch them in his own inimitable way. But no, it’s him and Peter MacNicol talking about life. Can’t they do that on their own time? There isn’t even one car chase for crying out loud.
On the positive side, there is a lot of pre-political correctness dialogue, and the soundtrack is drenched in classic sax (just like the Wings Hauser Las Vegas movie Living To Die, 1990). And, of course, Howard Hesseman is involved. And if you can’t get enough of the magnetism of Burt Reynolds (not caring), Heat should satisfy that need. Keep in mind this was the BEGINNING of his Not Caring period. Compared to later outings, he still had a little bit of “care” left in him.
Heat is not exactly a must see, but in the action sequences, we actually rewound a few parts. So if you find it cheap somewhere (very cheap) get it. Otherwise, eh.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty