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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: The Heat

October 14th, 2013

The Heat - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack

The Heat had a lot of pre-release buzz and many were expecting this film to be one of the best comedies of the year. When it finally opened, its reviews were good, but not great. Its box office numbers, on the other hand, were fantastic. It opened with just shy of $40 million and stuck around long enough to reach more than $150 million domestically. Did it deserve to strike it rich at the box office? Or did it over-perform compared to its quality level?

The Movie

The film begins with Special Agent Sarah Ashburn leading a raid on a house looking for drugs and guns. At first, her fellow agents don't find anything, but she not only finds the drugs and guns, but she humiliates her fellow FBI agents in the process. This is good for her closure rate, bad for her chances of promotion. Her bad people skills means she's not fit for a supervisory position. But she has a chance to prove she has what it takes, because there's a case in Boston. A new crimelord, Larkin, is setting up shop and she's being sent in to lead the investigation. The problem is, no one knows who Larkin is and no one has seen him.

Meanwhile in Boston, we see Detective Shannon Mullins in action. At first, she's busting a John, but on the way to the precinct, she spots a local drug-dealer, Terrell Rojas. After a short, and profanity filled chase, she brings him in. However, before Mullins can interrogate him, Ashburn arrives and takes over the case. This puts the pair in direct conflict with each other. When Mullins learns there's a new drug dealer in town, she talks to her brother, Jason, who was in prison for dealing drugs. ... She was the one who put him away. The rest of her family hates her for that, but Jason understands she was just doing her job. After a couple run-ins, Ashburn tries to get Mullins suspended; however, her Boss, tells her she has to learn to work with the local police, or she can forget about any promotion.

At this point we reach the police procedural portion of the movie, which means there are a lot of spoilers to deal with. On the other hand, I could spoil the end of the movie for you, and I don't think it would impair your enjoyment. The central case is not nearly as important as the chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. Be warned, the film is very crass. Melissa McCarthy swears frequently, and is often quite cruel when insulting those around her. However, there are more than enough scenes where her character has more emotional depth and that helps soften the character and make her more sympathetic. This is especially true when she talks to or about her brother. Sandra Bullock plays more of the straight role in this film, which is the less glamorous role when it comes to buddy comedies like this, but she certainly holds up her half of the movie.

Granted, there are some downsides, including the over-the-top crassness, which could turn people off. Also, some of these scenes go on a little too long. Knowing when to end a joke is really important when you want to get the maximum impact, and the movie fails in that regard a few times. Additionally, the action scenes are perhaps not as well staged as they are in some action movies. But then again, you go into a film like this looking for more laughs than choreographed gun fights, and this film has plenty of laughs.

The Extras

There was a lot of improv in the movie, and the extras focus on that. These begin with a 30-second introduction to the extras by Paul Feig, who also introduces all of the following segments up to the outro. Mullins Family Fun is nine-minutes of improvs and outtakes featuring the Mullins family. Acting Master Class has more improv, this time with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. Let's Get Physical are alternate takes / outtakes from some of the more painful scenes in the movie. Police Brutality is seven minutes of improv / outtakes of Detective Mullins insulting people. Von Bloopers is 16 minutes of general outtakes. Supporting Cast Calvacade, is yet more improv / outtakes, this time with the supporting cast. Over and Out is an outro.

Up next are 10 minutes of deleted scenes, 15-minutes of extended scenes, and 4 minutes of alternative scenes. How the Heat was made is a typical 20-minute long making of featurette. Up next are the commentary tracks, and the plural is really important here. Up first is a director's commentary track, but it is only on the Unrated version. The rest of the commentary tracks are only on the Theatrical version. There is an audio commentary track with Paul Feig, Melissa McCarthy, and others. There's an audio commentary track with Paul Feig and some of the the Mullins family, in character. Up next is a track recorded at the premiere of the movie, in case you want to feel like you are watching the movie in a crowded theater. Finally, there's an audio commentary track with the original cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000, which is an awesome idea for DVD releases. I would love more of this.

That's a ton of extras.

I have no complaints about the technical presentation. The level of detail is always good, the colors are strong, the black deep, etc. There are no compression issues or digital artifacts. Granted, it isn't the most showy movie out there, but it is still very good. The audio is a 5.1 surround sound track that has no issues when it comes to clarity. There is also enough activity in the surround sound speakers to feel engaging. Granted, it is an action comedy, so there are more scenes that are dialogue driven than there are scenes that require an active sound mix, but it is still solid.

The Blu-ray costs $4 or 22% more than the DVD, which is a great deal.

The Verdict

The Heat perhaps doesn't quite live up to the pre-release buzz, but it is still a very funny movie and the two leads have great chemistry together. There are a ton of extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray Combo Pack and it easily worth picking up.

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Filed under: Video Review, The Heat, Sandra Bullock, Tony Hale, Melissa McCarthy, Michael Rapaport, Demián Bichir, Paul Feig, Spoken Reasons