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L.A. Takedown (1989)

Tough Los Angeles cop Vincent Hanna takes on a gang of professional bank robbers led by the precise, enigmatic Patrick McLaren.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Patrick McLaren
Lillian Hanna
Michael Cerrito
Det. Lou Casals
Det. Bobby Schwartz
Mustafa Jackson
Harry Dieter
Chris Sheherlis
John Santucci
Harvey Torena (as Juan Fernandez)


Tough Los Angeles cop Vincent Hanna takes on a gang of professional bank robbers led by the precise, enigmatic Patrick McLaren.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hanna is the cop and the HEAT is on... See more »


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Release Date:

27 August 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Crimewave  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The original 180 page screenplay predates both L.A. Takedown (1989) and Heat (1995), it was written in the late 70s and then revised after Michael Mann had finished Thief (1981). When making the TV movie version, Mann had to severely abridge the original script and abstracted around 110 pages from the 180 page script, making the TV movie not fully developed compared to the later cinematic version. See more »


The exterior after bar scene when Hanna is following Lillian on the sidewalk, the boom Mic shadow is frequently seen chasing above/behind the quarreling actors. See more »


Detective Arriaga: C'mon, boss. How do you know? We still got...
Sgt. Vincent Hanna: What do we got?
Sgt. Vincent Hanna: [to himself/as if talking to McLaren] Fly like a bird, Patrick. Asta. You were good, man.
See more »


Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Michael Mann (2001) See more »


Performed by Billy Idol
Written by The Doors
See more »

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User Reviews

So there's something to be said for remakes after all...

Most people who see L.A. Takedown nowadays will see it for one reason: the fact that director Michael Mann remade this as Heat starring Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino in the Alex McArthur and Scott Plank roles. And that is basically the only reason why you would want to see this, unless you're an avid fan of '80 cop shows (there's even an detective-on-the-prowl-style montage).

When you watch this as I did (after seeing the brilliant Heat) you'll be pretty surprised by how much of L.A. Takedown went into Heat. From the opening heist to that famous coffeebar scene, a lot in both movies is identical, from characters to dialogue to camera angles. Most differences between both films are actually additions (which, of course, make Heat a good hour longer than L.A. Takedown). The Chris Shehirlis character (Val Kilmer in Heat) is basically an extra in L.A. Takedown as is the getaway driver for the bank robbery. Ah yes, the bank robbery. It's present here too, although of course, it doesn't last for nearly fifteen minutes (try three). Then whole subplots from Heat (for instance the one featuring Vincent Hanna's daughter) are absent and the ending is quite different, causing L.A. Takedown to lack the almost epic feel of Heat. Still, a lot of what is L.A. Takedown went on to become Heat.

And that's why L.A. Takedown merits viewing; to see how this film evolved from a cheaply made, averagely entertaining TV pilot show to what may just be the crime movie of the nineties. Many of the differences concerning the script I've already mentioned. The other main differences lie in acting and direction. To say that someone named Scott Plank (yes, plank) is not up there with Al Pacino is hardly surprising. But Plank is really pretty embarassing in this, coming across as someone who's copying crap TV-show acting like that from shows such as Hunter or Miami Vice. Even more embarassing is McArthur, who doesn't succeed in bringing any of his character's complexity to light (his character is actually pretty well developed in the script, which makes McArthur 'performance' even worseand it's the only character whose name was changed for Heat - don't ask me why). The rest of the cast isn't even worthy of comparison with their Heat counterparts.

As for directing, L.A. Takedown actually lookes pretty good, given that's it's a cheap TV movie. As said, some camerawork is very literally repeated in Heat (the opening heist is just one example), but L.A. Takedown is more coloured than Heat. Heat may be very stylised, the reality aspect of it was never looked over. In L.A. Takedown the stylism is present, but the realism takes a back seat, as dark streets and dim lights convey the traditional view of L.A. as a seedy place. But although the technical brilliance of Heat's cinematographer Dante Spinotti is clearly missed, L.A. takedown is visually not that bad.

In short: L.A. Takedown is not a good movie, and by itself not even remarkable. It is however a very interesting companion to Heat and both movies combined show that what you should remake is bad movies with unused potential, not good movies.

Rating: 4/10 (Heat: 9/10)

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