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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:
... Sgt. Vincent Hanna
... Patrick McLaren
... Bosko
... Lillian Hanna
... Michael Cerrito
... Det. Lou Casals
... Detective Arriaga
... Eady
... Det. Bobby Schwartz
... Mustafa Jackson
... Harry Dieter
... Chris Sheherlis
John Santucci ... Joe Cusomano
... Waingro
... 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?


Heat (1995) had 6 months of pre-production, and a 117 day shooting schedule. L.A. Takedown (1989) had 10 days of pre-production, and a 19 day shooting schedule. Michael Mann said that comparing one film to the other is like comparing "freeze dried coffee" to "Jamaican Blue Mountain". 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: [into phone/greeting] Raymond "Degenerate". Goodmorning.
Detective Arriaga: [louder] Raymond, wakeup!
See more »


Referenced in Heat (1995) See more »


Performed by Billy Idol
Written by The Doors
See more »

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User Reviews

Misjudged Genre Changer
3 July 2013 | by See all my reviews

OK so I'd probably have given this a 9 but felt the rating was disproportionately low and no doubt reflects Heat fans deliberately rating this down to show partisan support for their beloved Heat, rather than because they actually disliked this movie that much. Just a hunch! It's amazing to me how easily people will be polarised on a trivial issue. It's the same director FFS! What's the point of blindly hating one and adoring the other. It's not a football match.

Forgetting about the bloody remake for a minute, you've got try to imagine this movie framed in the context of 1989. It was re-inventing an extremely tired genre with a brand new style. Rather than lazily re-hashing the hackneyed cops good/crooks evil template, it attempted to give a believable account of how a specialist team of cops and a serious crew of crooks operated on different sides of the same coin. It tries to make you sympathise with both sides which was *incredibly* rare back then. It introduced shockingly believable and cold violence which was even rarer.

Whatever you make of this now, you need to at least acknowledge that it would've been ground breaking and original when it came out, and lets face it, that there would have been no Heat if it weren't for this.

When I bought this on DVD 10 years or so ago I noticed a couple of things that may have contributed to the bad reviews.

First of all there was the appalling quality of the DVD recording - that really takes a lot away from the style of the movie and that's just unfortunate. Maybe down to bad storage or just a cheap pressing of the DVD.

Secondly was how dated it looked. OK so Michael Mann's original batch of 80s movies/TV series were never going to age well because they whole-heartedly celebrated 80s fashion, design, architecture, language and style. This worked so well on screen back then. The zeitgeist of the 80s was brutally different to what had preceded it - a bold industrial/chic/sanitised re-imagining of a stale flower power, earthy world. Some rejected it, others embraced it. Among those who embraced it were movie directors like Michael Mann, and John Hughes. Sure, 5 or 6 fashion fads later and it looks dated and ridiculous. Well guess what, that's exactly what those guys made of the 60s/70s fashions that they were rejecting and that's what the next batch will make of fashion now and so on and so on. That's no reason to close the door on art produced in a particular era. You've got to think bigger than that or you're going to miss out on some amazing old movies.

There's a hell of a lot in the very well written dialogue which beautifully captures the values of the time it was made, e.g. "I'm a heavy hitter, I travel in circles, you know, like strata, strata at the top see? Cos I have access to some of the most precious commodity on Earth - information, data." If it sounds corny now, well remember it sounded sharp back then.

Very few people agree with this but I honestly preferred the original Scott Plank and Alex McArthur as the cop/crook. I thought they were much more believable in those roles than the aging DeNiro and Pacino. DeNiro gave it his best but if I had to guess which out of him and McArthur had been inside serving time, I'd go with McArthur every time - he comes over as a very convincing psychopath who could kick off at any moment. As for Pacino, I think he was having a bit of laugh with his character in Heat to be honest - "...great ass" etc. Scott Plank was actually convincing as an ex marine turned cop capable of sprinting down the street hauling an assault rifle and after a crew that had taken down a bank.

I also prefer Vincent Guastaferro to Sizemore as the driver, and Xander Berkeley has to be better as the weaselly, desperate, wannabe tough guy Waingro. The guy in Heat was way too tough and mean looking to play that part.

Sure so more money's going to lead to tighter production, better music, better effects etc. No brainer. But in terms of capturing the spirit of the story, the locations, the characters & the interplay between them, LA Takedown wins for me.

I do like Heat in its own right, but I will always prefer LA Takedown because it was the original and it is steeped in the time it was intended for. Just like I'll always infinitely prefer the 1964 Ford Mustang to the current remake even though it should always lose on paper. It's about originality, class, and the spirit of the era that went into it.

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