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Richard Benjamin
Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, Jane Alexander, Madeline Kahn, Rip Torn
Sam O. Brown, Joseph C. Stinson

A slick private eye and tough police lieutenant--once partners, now bitter enemies--reluctantly team up to investigate a murder.

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby 2.0
Castillian Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Polish Dolby 2.0
Portuguese Dolby 2.0
Czech Dolby 2.0
Latin Spanish
Castillian Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 97 min.
Price: $14.97
Release Date: 5/3/2016

• Theatrical Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


City Heat [Blu-Ray] (1984)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 3, 2016)

Back when City Heat reached screens in 1984, it looked like a sure-fire blockbuster. After all, it featured Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds, then two of the biggest movie stars on the planet.

Alas, the end result didn’t achieve the expected heights. The movie got generally poor reviews and sputtered at the box office. Its $38 million US left it as the 22nd biggest hit of 1984, a ranking far below what one would have predicted for a flick that united two “A”-list actors.

Set in Kansas City circa 1933, Speer (Eastwood) and Murphy (Reynolds) used to be partners on the local police force. However, Murphy quit to become a private detective, and this led to a bitter estrangement between the one-time pals.

Circumstances contrive to reunite Speer and Murphy. When Murphy’s partner Swift (Richard Roundtree) attempts to blackmail local mobster Leon Coll (Tony Lo Bianco), Swift ends up in the morgue. Speer and Murphy join together to deal with this and related issues.

With a script ghost-written by Blake Edwards and with Richard Benjamin behind the camera, one would expect that Heat to go for comedy and play more as a spoof of period gangster movies than anything else.

To some degree, this occurs, as Heat favors laughs over grit. However, exceptions happen – and they can be jarring. For instance, the film handles Swift’s death in a surprisingly graphic, violent manner, and other scenes follow suit.

Some movies can balance comedy and violence – such as Beverly Hills Cop, a much more successful effort from late 1984 – but Heat flops. It seems unsure what direction to pursue, so it can’t pull off the drama or the comedy well.

This dichotomy spreads to the stars as well, for both Eastwood and Reynolds seem to be in different movies. Though he occasionally nods toward comedy, Eastwood tends to play things straight, and he doesn’t break a sweat; he sticks with his standard Dirty Harry demeanor.

On the other hand, Reynolds camps it up with a much more comedic performance. I won’t say he fails to take any of the story seriously, but Reynolds opts for broad shtick and favors the film’s parodic side. Reynolds seems to understand that the material doesn’t work, so he doesn’t appear to invest in the character. He keeps Murphy superficial and weightless, so his stabs at humor flop.

Heat also loses points due to an oddly muddled plot. The tale of blackmail and various mobster factions fails to coalesce, largely because the narrative remains meaningless. The convoluted story wanders and meanders and lollygags but never actually goes anywhere. The viewer doesn’t invest in the tale because it lacks any form of direction.

All of these factors combine to make City Heat a decidedly forgettable 97 minutes. If its leads showed better chemistry, I might find some redemption, but as it stands, the movie flails and provides little to no entertainment value.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D-

City Heat appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Films circa 1984 can tend to look iffy, but this one came across pretty well.

Sharpness seemed largely solid. A few shots came across as a little soft and fuzzy, but these occurred infrequently. For the most part, the movie appeared distinct and accurate. No problems with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes were absent. Source flaws also failed to be a factor.

Colors seemed fairly distinct and vivid. The film opted for a palette heavy on reds and ambers, and these seemed clear and full. Blacks were pretty dark, and shadows were fine, with mostly strong delineation. Overall, the transfer replicated the source well.

Given the film’s age, I felt pleased with its DTS-HD MA 5.1, though the mix mainly hewed to the front speakers. In that spectrum, I heard reasonably good stereo separation and imaging for the music, and effects also spread across the forward channels to a positive degree. At times those elements came across as somewhat speaker-specific, but they usually blended together in a fairly pleasing manner, and effects moved cleanly across them.

Surround usage appeared to be modest. In general, the rear speakers offered general reinforcement of the score and some mild ambient effects. A few scenes opened up better – like crowd noise at a boxing match or a rain storm – but the track concentrated on the front most of the time.

Audio quality was dated but good. Dialogue occasionally displayed some edginess, but speech usually seemed reasonably natural and distinct, and I heard no concerns related to intelligibility. Effects also demonstrated periodic bouts of distortion; gunfire provided the most notable examples of these concerns. Otherwise, those elements sounded acceptably clean and accurate.

Music also seemed pretty positive. The score and songs showed reasonable pep and held up well over the last 32 years. Nothing about the soundtrack excelled, but I felt that the audio seemed more than satisfactory based on its age.

The disc includes the movie’s theatrical trailer but lacks any other extras.

Because it paired two huge stars, City Heat came with high expectations – and it dashed them. A muddled mix of comedy and violent action, the movie sputters and never gets into a groove. The Blu-ray offers pretty good picture and audio but lacks bonus materials. Other than as a curiosity for those eager to see Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds together, I can’t recommend this limp effort.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.25 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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