‘Heat 2’ book is like reading a Michael Mann action movie

Filmmaker Michael Mann has continued the story and characters from his celebrated 1995 action movie “Heat,” which starred Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, into a prequel and sequel in the new novel, “Heat 2.”

Filmmaker Michael Mann has continued the story and characters from his celebrated 1995 action movie “Heat,” which starred Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, into a prequel and sequel in the new novel, “Heat 2.”

Harper Collins

In the age of reboots, limited series and sequels it makes too much sense, because it would make many cents, that one of the greatest action movies made eventually would continue.

The 1995 movie, “Heat,” starring Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino and directed by Michael Mann, is back in the form of a novel.

A hit movie continuing in the form of a novel has precedent.

A hit movie that was not based on a book continuing in the form a novel, co-written by the film’s director and writer, is a creative phenomenon.

Mann made a career out of doing things just off center from conventional, and “Heat 2” fits a mold that he makes up as he goes.

“Heat 2” will be released on Aug. 9. It’s one of the more anticipated works of fiction of 2022, specifically because Mann wrote it based on the cult-hit movie he created.

He’s 79, and a first-time author.

“Heat 2” is a great idea.

As a movie, “Heat” doesn’t need anything else. It’s one of those organic, perfect creations that any follow up attempt to continue will not ruin but just disappoint.

As a story, Mann felt there was more to be done, so … he’s Michael Mann. He can do what he wants, and a publisher and studio would never reject the chance to cash in on this title.

If you liked the movie, the book is satisfying. It’s not great literature, but it’s an entertaining crime novel read; a return to a story and a set of people who are undeniably appealing.

“Heat 2” reads like you’re watching a Michael Mann action movie.

Between “Thief,” “Manhunter,” “Miami Vice,” and “Heat” few people in Hollywood do crime like Mann. His version of cops and robbers is slick, cool, hip, authentic looking and always masculine.

“Heat 2,” which was co-written by Austin-based Meg Gardiner, is the full story arc of the complex characters that made the original film one of the more compelling action movies ever produced.

It has been more than 25 years since we last saw LAPD detective Vincent Hanna hold Neil McCauley’s hand after he shot and killed a bank robber during his attempt at escape around the LAX Airport.

The book picks up with Hanna tracking down the rest of McCauley’s crew in LA, in pursuit of his top assistant, Chris Shiherlis.

The 466-page book then goes back to the beginning of Hanna’s career, which began in the military.

Both McCauley and Hanna’s careers overlap in Chicago; Shiherlis develops his gambling problem in Vegas, where he meets a high-priced call girl who he eventually falls for.

The only thing missing from these pages is the soundtrack that Mann found for his crime movies.

When you read “Heat 2” you might just hear the echos of Tangerine Dream, Elliot Goldenthal, or Jan Hammer music in your head.

Those composers gave Mann’s films a distinct sound that helped to separate his action movies from others.

That’s what makes “Heat 2” difficult; Mann’s skill is to create an audio and visual experience, whereas a book relies on the imagination.

This is the rare book when the reader has the images of characters already in their minds; as you read the book, you see DeNiro, Pacino, Val Kilmer and Ashley Judd, etc.

It’s also the rare book when the reader must watch the movie before starting page one.

Mann has said he plans for “Heat 2” to be turned into a movie.

That will not be his first attempt to return to a brand that people loved; in 2006, he converted his 1980s TV show “Miami Vice” into a movie.

“Miami Vice” the movie was average.

“Heat 2” the book is well above average and will satisfy fans of the original film who want to see and hear from these people again.

You just may want to turn on some Jan Hammer in the background to give the book a complete Mann experience.

This story was originally published August 2, 2022 10:21 AM.

Profile Image of Mac Engel

Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
Support my work with a digital subscription


Leave a Comment