Last week, something good happened: director Michael Mann announced there would be a sequel / prequel to “Heat”, the 1995 classic film starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. And look, I’ll admit I was disappointed for a gentle moment when the announcement was followed by “oh, it’s a book, not another movie,” but still – the news of more “Heat”, in any capacity, is worth celebrating.
Really, ever since I first read the headline, the idea of “Heat: The Book” has cemented itself in the forbidden corners of my brain as something I cannot live without; rotating in my subconscious like “It is Wednesday my dudes” or “I’m at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell”. It’s all I hear, every day:
“Heat: The Book.”
“HEAT: The Book.”
“HEAT: THE BOOK.”
Yes, the world has never been more ready for “Heat 2”. I didn’t think a sequel was needed, and I understand we’re in an endless circle of rehashes and remakes and oh-actually-this-supporting-character-has-a-whole-story-arc television series on Netflix, but “Heat” has somehow persisted as one of the few 3+ hour-long epics that is still solid. Because of that, we should allow for more.
Sure, the sex scenes are a bit dated, and the L.A. backdrop from De Niro’s hideaway might seem somewhat low quality. But the Moby soundtrack still hits. The sound is still elite. The sometimes over-acting, the tension, the endless amounts of film school-bro fun facts that have been rattled across the internet since the early 2000s – I love it all.
It is not revelatory to say that the bank robbery shoot-out scene is loud as hell and feels different, or to mention that at some point, Al Pacino thought his character was a cocaine addict – which goes some way to describe the acting (“She’s got a greaaatttt ass!”). And yes, despite both starring in “The Godfather: Part II”, De Niro and Pacino hadn’t shared the screen together until that fateful, late-night diner scene. But what “Heat” gave us in power, and cinematography, and masterful L.A. nightlife construction, could maybe – with the assistance of a few hundred pages in a hardback edition – get even better.
More than anything, I’m holding onto this brief little moment of bliss in what has been a hard few years. That “Heat” has gone on to be a classic, recapped minute-by-minute on podcasts and in Tweet threads, while keeping its hold as a mainstay in most dad’s Top 5 Greatest Films, is impressive. And at the very least, if “Heat 2” means we’ll continue to get Michael Mann tweeting out insane pics from behind the scenes, or from during the edit of the original film, then it will all be worth it.
“Heat 2” will be published on August 9, and will cover both the before and after stories of the original film’s lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Pacino) and master thief Neil McCauley (De Niro). Michael Mann has written the novel with Edgar-winning thriller writer Meg Gardiner, and it kicks off a day after the events of the original film. There are a lot of details in this Deadline story, but if you – like me – would rather wait to read the whole thing, resist the urge to click through for any potential spoilers.
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