Note: Piece written by “The Film Nest” guest contributor Rob R. (“Raging Rob” in the Comments section).
With the release of Public Enemies this week, here at The Film Nest we are featuring the films of director Michael Mann as part of our special “Michael Mann Week.” When The Rake asked me to choose a classic scene from one of Mann’s films, the first scene that popped in my head was the downtown L.A. Shootout from Mann’s 1995 crime epic Heat.
Heat was the first time that two of the silver screens finest actors, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino had ever acted alongside one another. Sure, they were both in The Godfather Part II, but they didn’t share any scenes together as they were playing father and son. Even in Heat, they share only two brief scenes, but when they finally do meet in this explosive thriller, it is damn near electric.
In the film, De Niro plays career criminal Neil McCauley and Pacino is Lt. Vincent Hanna, the cop that is trying to put McCauley and his gang behind bars. McCauley’s gang is played by Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, and Danny Trejo, who all hold their own next to heavyweights De Niro and Pacino. Here, De Niro and Pacino easily give their last worthy performances, as their characters know that the careers they have chosen are the only ones in this world they will ever be good at. With that realization, these men know that in the end, only one of them will survive the cat and mouse game they are locked into.
The scene featured below occurs after De Niro’s men rob a bank during the middle of the day. As the men are coming out of the bank, Kilmer’s character spots Hanna and his officers and begins firing on them. For the next several minutes in mid day, downtown L.A. is turned into a bullet riddled war zone. This scene is one of the best shootouts ever put on film and while I know most of you have probably seen it already, it is still one of the most thrilling action scenes out there. So, sit back, turn up your speakers and get ready to be blown away.