On the 28th of February, 1997, two men armed with AK-47 machine guns try to pull a heist at the Bank of America in North Hollywood, but their plan fails and they are kept under siege by the LAPD. During the ensuing forty-four minutes, Los Angeles witnesses live on television one of the greatest shoot-outs in American history. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The film takes place on February 28, 1997. See more »
When suspect one shoots himself in the head and is shown falling to the ground, his Beretta lands at least a meter away from him. After the next cut, the gun is loosely in his hand again. See more »
Ninety percent of cops go through their whole career without ever firing their gun. That day, that was roughly 1500 rounds fired. We were armed with pistols. These guys were slinging automatic machine guns. An AK-47 machine gun is a weapon that was designed for war. A high-velocity round invented to penetrate armor and kill their target. You use them in a bank job, and you've done something no one in America had ever done before. Danger's all around us. In the streets. In the car. ...
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Since I was only about two miles away from the real shootout and saw the footage on the news about 100 times, I was quite interested in seeing the movie to see how accurately it would depict the real event. The film was not only accurate (with very few exceptions) but it was also riveting (with the shootout edited together with documentary-style testimonials from the policemen characters) and peppered with some FX-style swearing and graphic moments. Of the actors, Michael Madsen and Mario Van Peebles were the best (and most well known) and Ron Livingston was good too, but seemed a bit out of place as a hard-edged, SWAT team member. Interesting tidbits were that the gunmen's full names were never mentioned (one was referred to as Larry a few times, but nothing else) and the gunmen characters looked nothing like the real gunmen (the wrong one had long hair and one of the real guys was about 100 pounds heavier than the other). Also, Michael Madsen, who is often confused with Tom Sizemore, who was in the 1995 film Heat, brings up Al Pacino's character from Heat in one of his testimonials. Heat is often mentioned in the same breath as the real North Hollywood incident, because of the similar shootouts and the fact that the real gunmen used the movie as an informal training video for robbing banks. The real gunmen also were nicknamed the 'High Incident Bandits' and the shootout was also the basis for the final episode of the 1996-97 ABC cop show 'High Incident' starring Blair Underwood. Good film.
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