After a fairly solid but troubled Blu-ray from Warner Brothers back in 2009, Michael Mann has given it another go and along with 20th Century Fox given us an excellent new release with the 'Director's Definitive Edition' as mentioned on the front cover.
Heat is perhaps one of the most definitive cops and robbers movie ever made. A dark, realistic tale that not only gives us a very authentic look at heist crews and the detectives who take them down but the toll it takes on their personal lives. Al Pacino gives a startling and lively performance as an overworked cop named Vincent Hanna who is slowly losing touch with his family and possibly his sanity. Robert DeNiro in another one of his sterling roles as a professional but ultimately ruthless thief named Neil McCauley whose code of conduct is shaken a bit by the love of a designer named Eady (played by Amy Brenneman). Both men despite respecting each other in some aspects become hunter and hunted on the streets of L.A. as Vincent sees his marriage fall apart and Neil sees multiple betrayals and a number of his crew picked off as he pulls off a major bank heist. The supporting cast for this film is tremendous with great performances from Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, Ted Levine, William Fichtner and small but memorable roles for Henry Rollins, Tom Noonan and Hank Azaria who gets the brunt of Vincent's beratement.
As mentioned before this film had been given a solid but flawed release before by Warner Brothers. Solid in that it had fairly good picture quality but flawed in that the audio quality was not up to par. Warner has a habit of setting the sound levels for voices a bit too low and then setting the sound for action sequences very, very high. Here thankfully this has been fixed. The audio sounds very good and much more balanced. Now dialogue is clear as ever and the action sequences still sound very explosive (especially the pinnacle shoot-out scene following the robbery which is still one the best scenes of it's kind ever filmed). The picture quality has been given a very good 4K upgrade over the first Blu-ray, eschewing the more colder, grayer look for somewhat warmer and more realistic-looking skin tones and natural looking lighting. Don't worry, it's still a dark, shadowy picture though but the scenes in daylight look like scenes in daylight and scenes at night are much more refined and natural looking. Also the film does look a bit more detailed than the previous release did and given this is a 2-disc release the new transfer is housed on it's own disc with the special features on the second disc so compression is pretty much non-existent here.
The special features for the most part are the same from the previous release with several documentaries, deleted scenes and commentary by director Michael Mann. The new stuff though is very good with a new hour-long Q&A segment from last year's Film Academy screening with most of the major cast included and a thirty-minute Q&A with Mann from 2015's Toronto Film Festival screening. Also have to commend 20th Century Fox for their new, excellent box art. Instead of the usual "floating heads over explosion" with a lot of movie covers they went with a more minimalistic and blue-colored view of L.A.'s skyline which looks absolutely gorgeous especially on the slipcover. I should also note though that this Blu-ray is like the previous one based off of Mann's changed version of the film which omitted the "Ferocious, aren't I?" line from Pacino's scene with Hank Azaria. Why this is still left out I'm not certain of although no further changes seem to have been made to the film that I can see.
Overall this release lives up to its subtitle and hopefully will see a 4K UltraHD release in the near future so both Blu-ray enthusiasts and 4K enthusiasts get what they want. I'm personally happy previous issues have been corrected and can say this release is highly fabulous and recommended.