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A little humid, but fun
Brian W. Fairbanks28 October 2003
By most accounts, Clint Eastwood hijacked his long-awaited teaming with fellow superstar Burt Reynolds and the credits bear this out. After showing writer-director Blake Edwards the door, Eastwood recruited the more malleable Richard Benjamin to direct (in his autobiography, Reynolds said Benjamin was "terrified" of Eastwood), ordered Edwards' script be given a rewrite by Joseph Stinson whose only other credit was the previous year's Dirty Harry film, "Sudden Impact," brought in key players from his Malpaso crew (notably Fritz Manes as producer and Lennie Niehaus as composer), and even dumped Edwards' title, "Kansas City Jazz," in favor of the equally imaginative (I'm kidding) "City Heat."

Despite Dirty Harry's takeover, "City Heat" emerges as a showcase for Reynolds. He has the most screen time and the zippiest dialogue, but playing against a typically wooden Eastwood also heightens the opportunity for Reynolds to reap laughs with his more extroverted approach. The contrast between the two is very entertaining.

Critics were quick to dismiss this Christmas 1984 release as a bomb which it certainly appeared to be beside the Eddie Murphy blockbuster, "Beverly Hills Cop," in release at the same time. It is disappointing (Edwards would likely have given it more class), but by no means a dud. It breezes along at a comfortable pace, mixes its laughs evenly with action, and should make for a satisfying indulgence for fans of the two stars.
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Two Superstars Surprisingly Fail
ecarle24 August 2004
In 1978, Eastwood and Reynolds appeared together on the cover of Time as the reigning male superstars. If "City Heat" had been made that year, it would have been a superblockbuster.

But by 1984, Reynolds' career was already declining (too many insipid "Cannonball Run" movies.) Eastwood -- who after "Dirty Harry" never worked with major co-stars -- may have finally said "yes" to co-starring with Reynolds because he was clearly the bigger star in 1984. But even Eastwood was starting to age.

All the problems others have related here are true, plus one more: Reynolds was hit in the face by a stunt man with a real chair while filming the opening diner fight scene. Reynolds' jaw was broken and he had a severe medical condition causing pain, headaches, and dizzyness. Reynolds was a trouper and finished the movie (he is quite funny in it), but one of the reasons the movie is so short and incoherent is that the injured Reynolds couldn't work very long in the film (notice: in the final fight, "Reynolds" is wearing a wolf mask -- because that's not Reynolds.)

"City Heat" opened at Xmas against "Beverly Hills Cop" and new star Eddie Murphy cleaned the clocks of old stars Eastwood and Reynolds . Reynolds would never be a top star again. Adding insult to injury, the ad tag line "The Heat is On!" first used by "City Heat" was shifted to "Beverly Hills Cop" when "City Heat" disappeared from theaters.

It's too bad, really. Once upon a time, Eastwood and Reynolds were both co-equal major superstars, and it would have been exciting to see them paired together. The opening diner scene and a few later exchanges give us a tantalizing glimpse of how good "City Heat" could have been had it not be jinxed from the start.
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Inconvenient Allies
bkoganbing18 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
City Heat casts two of Hollywood's biggest box office draws of the past forty years in the same film as different types. The film is set in Kansas City of 1933 which richly earned the reputation it had back in the day of a wide open town. This was in fact the Kansas City of Tom Pendergast. Clint Eastwood is a by the book and honest city detective, not an easy thing to be in Kansas City of that era. Burt Reynolds is a former cop who's now a roguish private eye. The two of them have a history, they like each other well enough, but they also grate on each other's nerves.

As all good private eyes have, Burt has a cool and efficient Effie like secretary in Jane Alexander and a partner in Richard Roundtree. Burt's one of the few back in the day who would even consider going into business with a black person. But Roundtree's playing a lone hand involving a runaway bookkeeper and a war between two rival mobs headed by Rip Torn and Tony LoBianco. For his troubles Roundtree winds up dead and in the same tradition of Sam Spade, when your partner's killed you do something about it.

But it's also Eastwood's homicide case and like it or not the two are forced into an alliance of inconvenience, kicking and screaming right up to the end of the picture. The plot also calls for rescuing Alexander who Eastwood fancies, Madeline Kahn who's Burt's girlfriend and chanteuse Irene Cara.

City Heat is not at the top of the list of films by Eastwood and Reynolds. But they've got nothing to be ashamed of here. The film glides effortlessly from comedy to drama and both guys get their innings to show why they're the superstars they are. You could do a lot worse than City Heat for your viewing pleasure.
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Not Totally Enough Here
Like the old saying goes, bigger is not always better. Apparently sticking two actors with the highest star power was not the best idea for City Heat. It's not a bad idea, but it's not a great one. There are SOME good moments in this movie but there is a lot missing. Because of this the bad outweighs the good by far, which can make this a frustrating film to watch.

We know this much; Mike Murphy (Burt Reynolds) and Lieutenant Speer (Clint Eastwood) are acquaintances on some level. In what way - we're never really told. That's already one step in the wrong direction. If you're making a buddy cop movie, you have to give some kind of background of the main characters. Otherwise, the viewer will have no clue why the two characters are at odds half the time.

Much of the time I was trying to figure out what Reynold's character was up to. Every time the screen shifted to Eastwood I finally caught up with what was happening. I'm not really sure how but that was one of the frustrating parts about this movie. It was like Reynold's was there only for fluff and laughs. I'll admit Reynold's did make me laugh at times but it was just for that specific moment. Clint Eastwood also has funny parts. Just like any Eastwood movie, he has his own way of doing things and he does that in this movie too. But these occurrences didn't really change my opinion of this movie; although I wish it had.

To make things even more awkward was that this film barely had a soundtrack. I mean even the silliest of soundtracks sound better than nothing. There were times where I was watching action sequences in this movie where I only heard a "biff" or "baff" and an occasional gunshot. Music can change the whole feeling of a certain scene and without it I felt like I was watching anything very exciting. I was bored with it. Even when it comes to the most stupid action scenes in a movie, there was at least music to back it up. There was almost nothing here. I felt that there was nothing to be excited about. I was just watching a film with no emotion. That is really nerve racking for me. I need to feel something while watching a movie. City Heat just never took off for me and it is truly unfortunate. I was expecting a lot more.

City Heat is just another buddy cop movie with no real life in its characters. The action scenes can be boring with no music in the background and its characters are short of laughs due to the sloppy screenplay.
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Not Your Pink Panther, Nor Your Day Punk
DKosty1234 April 2009
This is one of the only times that Clint Eastwood & Burt Reynolds got together. The casting is with great imagination. It was actually made at a good time for both actors and the support cast is good. So what went wrong? Blake Edwards script for this one is just not as funny as other films he wrote. The situation seems contrived and this was a time when Eastwood was doing actions films. The action is just missing here. While Reynolds could do comedy, it seems that both actors didn't get to do in this movie what sold tickets for their fans.

When the movie ends, it just kind of ends in a stand off and you get the feeling like you needed an ending that just isn't here. It is fun seeing these two actors together in this film, but the script is the missing element. Richard Benjamin, a funny man directed, and I am surprised he didn't do better with it as he knows what good comedy is.

While the movie is fun, it is not funny enough. Blake Edwards saved better material for his Pink Panther movies I guess.
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Dirty Harry meets Cop and a Half
culwin4 February 2000
I didn't find this movie all that bad. It is merely mediocre. Unfortunately there is nothing in this movie that we haven't seen dozens of times before. Burt is sophomoric and Clint is stereotypical Clint. Good TV movie but not really worth renting unless you have seen everything else.
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Do you feel a cold draft?
lost-in-limbo12 July 2006
It's 1933 and in Kansas City, we follow that of Detective Murphy, as his partner has just been killed by some big-heads and he finds himself caught up in the web he has left behind. While, this is going on Lieutenant Speer also investigates, but when the two collide, there are some fireworks, as they have a work history together. But they have to put their differences aside, if they are going to get the job done.

Should I call this a disappointment, because the effortlessly shallow material just doesn't go hand-to-hand with the talent that was involved. This parody / drama on noir and tough-guy images is no more than a vehicle for the two stars, who just seem to be slumming it out here. It's not a bad film, because it's well made, but the story doesn't entirely hit any strides, it changes direction between spoof and drama with mixed results and it can be quite tedious in spots. All the accolades though, would have to go to the delightfully smooth Burt Reynolds in the role as the charismatic, smart-guy detective Murphy. His presence definitely overshadows Eastwood. But the colourful banter and always at odds attitude between the two, makes it a fun pairing up to watch, as they work off each rather nicely. Clint Eastwood, plays the straight-faced, no-bull Lieutenant Speer with his usual approach and sly humour. They both get some highly witty, top-notch lines. The supporting cast are satisfactory with the likes of Rip Torn, Jane Alexander, Irene Cara, Richard Roundtree and Robert Davi dusting in with a skew of personalities. While, they're worth better material, they all do the best with what they're given to work with. The feel of the 1930's has an artificial air about it here, as clearly you can't escape the back-lot sets. But still it's professionally catered for with a pleasant blues score and a dour colour scheme crafted in to get that glum, wet atmospheric night build-up of Kansas City. The direction of Richard Benjamin is quite standard, but it has some neat photography techniques of the period and a few flashy impulses, like one fine and exciting late-night shoot-out in a deserted street.

Nothing much out of the ordinary and very forgettable, but only the fans of two stars should really bother with this one.
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S(am) O. B(rown)
jotix1009 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
"City Heat" was a Blake Edwards project that derailed in Hollywood. The genial director of "Ten", "S.O.B.", "Victor-Victoria", among others, was fired from his own creation. A lot of people became involved, trying to bring it to the screen. This film is a perfect example of why too many cooks can spoil the broth. How much of this mess can be attributed to the original screenplay Mr. Edwards wrote, although we suspect it was completely changed. The fact that Sam O. Brown is given credit might indicate how Blake Edwards felt about seeing his work destroyed. Ultimately, Richard Benjamin was selected to direct.

For lack of better things to watch, we caught "City Heat" not too long ago. It is not a complete disaster, but nothing seems to make sense. For this being a film about a period in which gangsters dominated the criminal scene in America, the criminals in the movie commit the ultimate sin: they cannot even shoot! There are frequent gun fights, but hardly anyone is hurt.

It might have been an attraction to pair the two stars, Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds, who were at the top of their craft to star in "City Heat", but their characters do not make much sense. We keep thinking whether Speer and Murphy were supposed to be allies, or enemies. The women do not fare better. Jane Alexander is totally wasted. Madeleine Kahn has nothing to do, only appearing in about three sequences. Irene Cara's Ginny Lee is an afterthought. Rip Torn, Tony Lobianco, and the rest of the supporting players do not add anything to a film that is best forgotten for what it did not deliver. Richard Benjamin would probably be better off omitting this from his directing resume.
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Burt Reynold and Clint Eastwood, What could go wrong?
SnoopyStyle30 August 2013
It's 1930s Kansas City. Private investigator Mike Murphy (Burt Reynolds) loses his partner who is brutally murdered after trying to blackmail a mobster with his secret accounting records. When a rival gang boss goes after the missing records, he is forced to team up with his ex-partner cop Lieutenant Speer (Clint Eastwood) to fight both gangs before KC erupts in a mob war.

From a Blake Edwards story, this takes place when both Burt Reynold and Clint Eastwood was hitting a slow patch after being red hot. Clint would recover, but Burt never did. With the people involved, you would think this could be something incredible. But there is nothing but disappointment. Burt is playing his usual self, smirking thru his fight. Clint has no chemistry with Burt. The style is too stiff and weak. It has none of the grittiness required. It looks completely fake. Worst of all, it moves at a snails pace, dragging its feet. The dialog is stilted. There is no jokes, at least none that worked. In fact, none of it really worked.
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Big disappointment
jhaggardjr11 November 2001
"City Heat" is a movie that should have been something special. When made back in 1984, it seemed like a great idea of having two of Hollywood's biggest moneymaking actors back then (Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds) starring together in an action/comedy that takes place during the 1930s. But something went wrong early on during the production. Blake Edwards wrote the script and was slated to direct. But Edwards walked off this movie to direct Dudley Moore in "Micki + Maude", and former actor Richard Benjamin came on to take over the directing duties. BIG MISTAKE!!! Even though Edwards still got screenplay credit (under the pseudonym Sam O. Brown), changes were made in the script, and "City Heat" ended up a mess. What a shame! I can still remember Chicago film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert blasting this movie when it came out. Ebert gave it 1/2*, and Siskel gave it no stars. The movie opened back in early December 1984, and two other big movies opened that same week (Eddie Murphy's "Beverly Hills Cop" and the "2001" sequel "2010"). Back then when Siskel and Ebert were doing their movie review show "At the Movies" (this was before their show went nationwide as "Siskel & Ebert"), they would have a skunk on the show to talk about the stinker of the week honoring the worst movie that they reviewed that week. "City Heat" won the honor over "Beverly Hills Cop" and "2010" as the stinker of the week. That's major criticism considering the presence of two big superstars. Now I didn't think "City Heat" was that bad, but it's bad. To me this was a big disappointment. Eastwood plays a cop; Reynolds a private eye. Former partners who now don't get along, they're forced to team up to erase crime from the streets of 1930s Kansas City. Eastwood and Reynolds come off O.K. as this odd couple of crimebusters, but they should have been better. At least they come off better than they're supporting cast. The supporting actors (from Jane Alexander to Madeline Kahn to Irene Cara to Rip Torn) are all wasted, not making much of an impression. Another thing that bothered me about "City Heat" is that it has a phony feeling throughout. It feels like this movie was shot on a movie set instead of real outdoor scenery. That makes the movie unrealistic. Plus, the fight scenes and all the glass breakage is totally laughable. I laughed every time I heard glass breaking during the fight scenes. "City Heat" is an asinine crime comedy that I think would have worked if Edwards had directed it. Roger Ebert made a memorable take on "City Heat" saying quote: "Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds are stuck in one of the biggest bombs of the year, an incomprehensible mess disguised as a period gangster picture". It's a mess alright. Though my rating is a little higher than Ebert's because I felt that some of the action scenes have punch. But that's not saying much. "City Heat" was so bad to most people that this was the first and last time Eastwood and Reynolds starred in a movie together. Blake Edwards had a good movie on his hands, but Richard Benjamin came on to mess it up.

*1/2 (out of four)
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haildevilman8 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I laughed the whole time.

My father STILL quotes this flick ad infinitum. Mostly the 'You'll always be shorty to me' line.

This was like one of the Airplane films played more seriously. The action scenes were done well too. It was difficult seeing classic cars get ruined though.

Clint and Burt made a good team. Rip Torn and Madeline Kahn (RIP) in great support. And watch for William Sanderson in a small role.

But the lines made this film. And for once Burt's hammy acting and Clint's mumbling worked in its favor.

Best line? Clint talks to a guy in a car. 'You shouldn't lay in the street. You might get hit by a train.' 'What train?' 'The next one I hear coming.'

And, 'I don't like you're ilk. You know what that is?' 'Yeah, it's a deer.' 'Well if you don't leave, I'm gonna shoot me an ilk.'

Groaners all. But I loved it.
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Shocking what Prohibition causes some people to drink these days.
Spikeopath13 April 2015
The weight of expectation for City Heat was massive, two iconic Hollywood actors together in a buddy buddy cop movie, one with nods and homages to film noir and old school gangster movies, it wasn't unreasonable to expect a movie to sit with the best on Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynold's then CV's circa 1984. Unfortunately it's no masterpiece or close to being in the upper echelon's of each actor's respective works. But that doesn't make it a bad film.

A change of director saw Blake Edwards replaced by Richard Benjamin after Eastwood and Edwards, ahem, couldn't see eye to eye, so that immediately put the film on the back foot in many critic's eyes. Ironically Benjamin does OK - working from Edwards' script (there's a whole bunch of back stories and tittle-tattle assigned to this film if you care to search for it). Lots of fun here, though, as Clint and Burt, one a cop, the other an ex-cop turned PI, reluctantly team up to cut a swathe through the gangsters ruling the roost in prohibition era Kansas City.

Eastwood does his straight backed machismo act, throwing awesome punches along the way, while Reynolds is wonderfully cheerful as a tough guy who all things considered, would rather not get hurt! The script is full of zingers, delivered with customary sardonic self parody by the stars, while the roll call of supporting actors is not to be sniffed at. Period detail is high end, with Nick McLean's photography carrying the requisite neo-noir impact, while the music tracking is pleasingly nostalgic.

It's over the top of course and needlessly convoluted as per its yearning to be noirish, yet if you can cut back your expectation levels? And you can simply enjoy the sight of Eastwood and Reynolds having fun romping in this period? Then you just might enjoy this more than you dared to believe. 7/10
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Underrated and under appreciated
col54716 November 2012
This doesn't deserve all the hate it gets.If the finished film doesn't quite come together as it should,it comes down to the fact that the shooting was a troubled production.Two actresses quitting their roles,a director been replaced and Burt Reynolds suffering an injury that caused him to become addicted to painkillers and becoming increasingly difficult to work with,and forcing Clint Eastwood to handle a lot of the tension amongst the cast and director.Bearing all that in mind,this is still far from been the worst of it's kind.

Set in the 30's,former police partners Eastwood and Reynolds are caught in the crossfire between two rival gangs when Reynolds' sidekick Richard Roundtree (Shaft)tries to con the local Mr.Big.The plot is a little confusing at first but by the halfway point everything makes sense and sets up the film's action-packed second half.

There's plenty to enjoy here.Eastwood and Reynolds' banter (despite his difficulties during,Reynolds still does quite well)the settings,and the shootouts.One of the best things about the shootouts is the lack of intrusive music on the soundtrack which for me ruins a lot of movies.

This is a surprisingly pleasing combination of comedy and film noir thriller,with Eastwood in particular sending up his own macho image at every opportunity.
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Were Our Expectations Too High? Certainly, But With Reason
ccthemovieman-113 August 2007
I remember a lot of people, not just me, being disappointed in this film. With Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood in the starring roles, we all excepted a really entertaining, good movie. All the publicity made us even more anxious to see it. Well, it never lived up to the hype. I don't know anyone who left the theater satisfied when this was over.

This points out an important fact: screen writing is more important than the cast. You can have two charismatic actors, as we have here who are big box-office draws, but if the script stinks the movie is going to be a flop. I don't blame Reynolds or Eastwood. They didn't write this story which is dismal, makes no sense in a few parts (disjointed) and simply is not entertaining. It's pretty hard to have two stars, a good premise, the 1930s as a backdrop, and still have a unlikeable movie!

To be fair, part of the problem was the expectation. It obviously was too high for this film, which didn't deliver to meet everyone's high expectations. Maybe if you've never seen and keep your expectations low, you'll enjoy it. And - if for no other reason - it's still interesting to see those guys star in the same film.
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A Complete Disaster
Michael_Elliott12 June 2010
City Heat (1984)

1/2 (out of 4)

Horrendous film about a cop (Clint Eastwood) and private eye (Burt Reynolds) who are investigating the same case. Turns out a man (Richard Roundtree) was trying to blackmail some mob boys but soon he's dead and it's up to our two superstars to crack the case. If you ever need proof that superstars aren't as important as a good screenplay then here it is. Apparently Blake Edwards was set to direct this movie but got fired sometime during the filming as he couldn't agree with the two stars on what this film should be. Perhaps this is the reason the movie is such a mess but whatever the reason it's doubtful you'll see a worst movie with Eastwood. Sometimes when you go into a movie with low expectations you find yourself enjoying it on a few levels but that wasn't the case here. Everything in this movie is horrid but the biggest problem I had is that I could never figure out what the hell I was watching. At times the tone is so serious that you think you're watching an actual thriller. At other times the material is so over the top that you feel as if you're watching some type of spoof. With Eastwood and Reynolds you appear to be getting a buddy picture yet they're hardly on screen together and when they are it isn't for too long. This is a really confusing movie in terms of its tone but perhaps Edwards was going for the spoof, got fired and the replacement director went for something more serious. Whatever happened the final result is a complete disaster and without question a major embarrassment. There's no denying that Reynolds was making some poor selections here and this is yet another. He seems really out of place here and gives a rather awkward performance that never gets the laughs he's going for. You somewhat would expect him to pick out a bad screenplay but for the life of me I can't understand how Eastwood would get involved in something like this. This material is without question the worst I've seen from him and it's hard to believe he'd sign on for something like this. He sleepwalks through the entire film and can't give it a bit of energy. Jane Alexander, Madeline Kahn and Rip Torn are all bland as well and Roundtree doesn't get to do much before getting knocked off. The film takes place in the 30s so we get all the old fashioned cars and outfits and while this is pretty on the eyes there wasn't a single frame where I actually felt like we were in the 30s. It's hard to find any direction here as each scene is just off the wall and comes off looking extremely tired and there's no energy to be found anywhere. As horrid as this movie is at the same time it's almost easy to recommend just so people can see how badly a movie can be even with strong talent. This is the type of film that makes you scratch your head and wonder what they were thinking but I'd love to hear Eastwood try to put a spin on this.
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What a disappointment
jrpk196420 November 2005
There's no excuse for this movie being as bad as it is. Given the talent involved, absolute minimal effort would have made it a memorable film, significant effort would probably have pushed it to the level of classic. However, Clint Eastwood is as wooden as ever, he's unlikeable, unbelievable and forgettable in this. Burt Reynolds seems desperately grasping in every scene for a funny moment and finds none. They have zero chemistry with each other, nor do they have any real chemistry with the the rest of the characters, which despite being well cast are also all one-dimensional and uninteresting. The story is poorly slapped together, boring and simply doesn't work. The production value is actually good but the story and execution are crap. It's seems as if all the effort went into preproduction and the filming was an after thought. They had to have really gone out of their way to sabotage this thing, but apparently they did. It's crap.
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Closer to Spoof than Fun Noir
gottogorunning16 August 2005
The opening is fun, bit its a little closer to The Naked Gun than The Big Sleep. In other words, closer to spoof than fun noir. But then they're not prepared to stick with it. There is nothing spoof about the rest of the script, its just a straightforward hardboiled noir imitation.

So this movie does two incompetent things: directly appropriates plot elements and scenes from previous and better noirs, and performs them in a way that isn't spoof enough to laugh, and isn't serious enough to be taken seriously.

You can tell this is right by watching the two leads. There's supposed to be a contrast between them, but not one so strong that they both think they're in different genres. If you just watch a one-shot of Reynolds, you can tell he thinks this is The Naked Gun, but if you just watch a one-shot of Eastwood, seems he thinks this is Dirty Harry.

But, in simple terms, the main problem with City Heat is its just plain uninteresting.
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Tough Cop, Funny Cop
Rodrigo Amaro5 June 2010
The title is a little bit strange considering that most of the scenes were filmed at night and there's not enough scenes involving fire or explosions. But it is a very underrated action-comedy film where two opposites policeman have to join forces to combat killers and gangsters. Sounds like "Rush Hour" and "Lethal Weapon" and it is quite similar in its humor but "City Heat" story happens in the 1930's.

Detectives Speer (Clint Eastwood) and Mike Murphy (Burt Reynolds) were very good friends but the lack of discipline and a certain involvement with bad companies from the part of Murphy made these two guys not get along very well. Relax, this is not a so serious movie, their fights are quite funny. If Mike is getting beat up by tough guys and he asks for help Speer won't help except if one of these guys spill his drink. But they need each other again when one of Mike's business partner (Richard Roundtree) is killed after doing a risky business betraying his former associate. In the middle of all this there's plenty of mob godfathers (played by Tony LoBianco and Rip Torn) looking for something that Mike's partner hide.

The whole plot is confusing and there's not enough space for incredible action scenes but at least writer Blake Edwards made a very funny movie. Not only the fights between Eastwood and Reynolds are good but it was included funny female characters too. Jane Alexander plays Addy the smart and lovable Mike's secretary and Speer's love interest; and Madeline Kahn plays Mike's love interest, a very rich woman. The problem with the villains is that they're not scary or funny, they just know how to disturb the peace of the main characters. Some of the shooting scenes and fight scenes are very absurd. A long shooting on the street with no one hitting no one, these guys needed a good training before being contracted by the mafia. Clint appears and shoot everybody. There's a fight scene in the beginning with Burt and two other guys, many punches in the face and no one is hurt, no blood appears, nothing. That was kind of lousy to see.

Nothing original to see but it worths to see anyway. Reynolds and Eastwood were good partners in this film and a sequel could be good but unfortunately this wasn't a hit back in the 1980's. It's not as bad as critics and some people say, it has many funny moments (Eastwood is so serious that it's actually funny, he has great punchlines here), and the art direction is very careful and well made. 9/10
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You'll Always Be Short For Me ! (The Story of 3 Bad Movies in One)
elshikh49 November 2007
@_At first, there was a script of one thriller comedy in the frame of the American gangster movies of the 1930s. And when it comes from a writer / director who has the good name of (Blake Edwards) then you have to expect a sweet comedy, a delicious cartoon feel, and some wicked parody too. But this script never saw the light fully, because the man quitted the project quickly, and after a while he changed his name on the credits to (Sam O. Brown) ??!! It is (Edwards)'s only time to do such a thing during a great career of more than 40 movies and TV shows he wrote !

&_(Clint Eastwood) was a big star at the moment. And he was chosen to co-star the movie with the era's other star, and maybe his competitor, (Burt Reynols). Though (Eastwood), who achieved some success since 1971 as a director, wanted to make this movie a something of his own; as if a Dirty Harry in the 1930s, with artsy melancholic sense. You read matters like how he forced the director to put his eyes always in shadows like it's a remake of The Third Man or something! Let alone that he insisted on the typical serious (Eastwood)'s image in a movie that maybe was designed to mock at this very image as a cold blooded, super violent, good guy. To understand the original spoof-driven nature of the movie, just look at the massive street fight where (Eastwood)'s character attacked the entire gang single-handedly to destroy all of them; it's the usual (Eastwood)'s action, however designed as a hurly-burly live-cartoon sketch. I bet, that was (Edwards)' idea, as one of his gifted extravaganzas, or what remained of it here anyway !

Therefore when you observe the name of (Joseph Stinson), who wrote (Sudden Impact – 1983) the previous hit of (Eastwood), next to the name of the departed (Edwards), along with your feeling sometimes that (Eastwood)'s scenes seem so (Eastwood)'s; you'll easily understand that it's not quite a coincidence ! By the way, back then, this (Eastwood)'s slight narcissism was hardly noticed, but within no time, it would be more than tangible, especially when he wouldn't act unless in movies directed by him or – at least – directed by his friends like Buddy Van Horn who directed (The Dead Pool – 1988) and (Pink Cadillac – 1989) for him. So that kind of Eastwood by Eastwood condition, which would have him completely later, left its early bad effects on this poor movie !

#_(Burt Reynolds) broke his jaw while he was shooting his first scene, the first scene of the movie also, then he got too many medicines along with painkillers, hence the lively star lost 20 KG in no time, and maybe they changed some parts in the script to handle that carefully. So if you doubted that the one who was moving in a wolf disguise was no (Reynolds), then you were probably right !

Now we have 3 scripts, or 3 ways to make one movie, or 3 unfinished movies that must be all in one by director (Richard Benjamin). But actually : @ + & + # = *?%!%$%^%#{@! WAW!!, this could be unexpectedly the right formula of success, the secret code of a box office hit or another classic. However, it turned out to be a petty concurrent mishmash !

The final result was, at best, one of the violent buddy-cop movies of the 1980s, yet running in the 1930s, and being less enjoyable than its likes. Despite some action comedy and little funny lines, the script looked so disassembled, Eastwood's comedy looked fabricated and tasteless, the time that the 2 stars shared on screen was less than 15 minutes, and then there was that scene where (Reynolds) was talking about the greatness and the difficulty of being a cop; like we're in a serious movie or wannabe one! Basically we didn't even know the reason why (Reynolds)'s character left the force and turned into detective !!

I think that the movie's last line is the fairest review it can get : (You'll always be "shorty" to me) as it failed in fulfilling its main promise concerning 2 great icons in one hot action comedy, or making anything perfect anyway. It's simply a case of a movie with too short of everything !
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Schizophrenic straight noir / noir farce is just plain uninteresting.
Ben Parker3 July 2004
The opening is fun, bit its a little closer to The Naked Gun than The Big Sleep. In other words, closer to spoof than fun noir. But then they're not prepared to stick with it. There is nothing spoof about the rest of the script, its just a straightforward hardboiled noir imitation.

So this movie does two incompetent things: directly appropriates plot elements and scenes from previous and better noirs, and performs them in a way that isn't spoof enough to laugh, and isn't serious enough to be taken seriously.

You can tell this is right by watching the two leads. There's supposed to be a contrast between them, but not one so strong that they both think they're in different genres. If you just watch a one-shot of Reynolds, you can tell he thinks this is The Naked Gun, but if you just watch a one-shot of Eastwood, seems he thinks this is Dirty Harry.

But, in simple terms, the main problem with City Heat is its just plain uninteresting.

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Sh**ty heat......
FlashCallahan17 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Private investigator Mike Murphy's partner is brutally murdered when he tries to blackmail a mobster with his secret accounting records.

When a rival gang boss goes after the missing records, ex-policeman Murphy is forced to team up with his ex-partner Lieutenant Speer, even though they can't stand each other, to fight both gangs before It erupts in a mob war....

This should have been one of, if not the biggest film of 1984. It had the two biggest stars in the world at the time, together, in what should have been a fun romp.

But while there are a couple of good scenes ( the opening fight, and the shoot out ), the film makes no sense whatsoever, and becomes boring, very very quickly.

Eastwood appears to be on autopilot, seemingly knowing that this could be the biggest film of his career, and Reynolds, is over the top wacky, but in a really annoying way.

The sets are authentic, but it appears that all the action takes place on one street, and every situation concludes in the same apartment.

Its a shame, because the opening has so much potential, but falters very soon after.

A huge disappointment...
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Nothing really stands out in this film but still fun
david-sarkies12 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not really much of a fan of Clint Eastwood movies, his silent, calm, and collected characters just don't really seem to mesh with me. This movie is no different. What attracted me to this movie though is the 1920's gangster plot line; this is something that I quite like, though they never seem to turn out how I expected. In these movies one expects to see gun fight with tommy guns, cement shoes, speakeasies, and gangs at war with each other. This movie has it, but the action, as seems to be in a lot of Clint Eastwood movies, is a bit slow.

Clint Eastwood's character is not the main character, rather it is an ex-cop come gumshoe (private detective) named Murphy. Eastwood plays Murphy's ex-partner and there seems to be quite a bit of animosity between them. This is the typical personality test that puts together people with opposing personalities, and these two character's personalities are definitely opposed, right to the point where they will start shooting at each other. Murphy is quite extroverted and loud while Eastwood is his usual quiet and calm self.

The movie was alright but not really all that gripping, especially how I decided to stop it and go to sleep. The action was slow and the plot was also quite slow. They kept the flavour of the era and it was reasonably easy to see what was going on. Unfortunuately this means that there is little intrigue and when there is little intrigue then something else is needed to fill the space. There wasn't much in this movie that did this. There were gunfights, but even these were slow and tedious to watch. To me, City Heat is a movie to see once and forget.
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Cop comedy with Eastwood and Reynolds, done in film noir style.
TxMike20 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is part of a 3-for-1 DVD set of Clint Eastwood movies. None of them arise above the "B" movie genre.

Set in the 1930s, here Clint Eastwood is Lieutenant Speer, normally very laid back, to the point where he can watch others beating each other up with no involvement, until ... they cause his coffee or drink to spill. Then he becomes a fighting machine.

Burt Reynolds is his friend and investigator Mike Murphy, who is constantly the butt of "short" jokes next to Eastwood.

Other notables include Jane Alexander, Madeline Kahn, and Rip Torn. Plus, the singer Irene Cara of "Flashdance" fame plays a singer Ginny Lee.

As a movie, overall, it isn't very good. The story is confusing, almost impossible to figure out who is doing what and for what reason. There are lots of fights and lots of shooting, but hardly anyone gets hit with bullets. But as a dark comedy it works pretty well, for the actors in it.
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shakey_jake537 August 2003
CITY HEAT is a decent action/comedy starring Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood. It's not the best film these two actors have made but it's worth a look. There are some funny moments throughout the film, mostly from Eastwood and Reynolds, but some of the scene's went on longer than they should have, especially the shootout's and fistfights. I thought the set pieces were nice though and the film did make you believe it took place in the 30's which was good. Overall, a decent film that is not the best from either of the stars but worth a look. 3/5
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george.schmidt28 February 2003
CITY HEAT (1984) ** Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, Jane Alexander, Madeline Kahn, Rip Torn, Tony Lo Bianco, Irene Cara. So-so shoot'em up set in Kansas City circa 1930s with former cop duo Burt and Clint up against the usual each trying to out spoof their tough guy images with mixed results.
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