The story was classic in nature. Heat was a tale of cops versus robbers, but the film was different from its predecessors in many ways. First, the cops were not necessarily good guys. They were just people trying to improve their world. The cop side focused on Lieutenant Vincent Hanna played by Al Pacino. After two divorces and a struggling third marriage, it was clear that the job was his life and that was never going to change.
The other end of the spectrum is the robber who has had some big pay days. He’s smart, talented, and knows how to beat the system. Risks are something he avoids, and crime is a job. Emotion is not an option when it comes to business. It’s a way to make a good living using his skills. The main robber in Heat is Neil McCauley played by Robert De Niro. He isn’t necessarily represented as a bad guy even though he is a killer and hardcore criminal. This is the kind of criminal that someone could aspire to be if they were interested in that line of work.
Heat not only contains a great cast and story, but it has maybe the best car chase and shootout scene in movie history. After leaving a heist, the robbers are caught in a trap and have to shoot their way out which they do successfully. The crew uses automatic weapons and bulletproof vests to accomplish this task, but two of their crew dies and another is injured in the escape. The scene is action packed and makes Heat a great movie. This scene is memorable to say the least and is worth viewing if you haven’t seen the film before.
On February 28, 1997, two heavily armed and armored men entered a Bank of America and committed a robbery. These men were Larry Phillips and Emil Matasareanu. Before entering, a passing police car had seen them enter the bank and called for back up. When they left the bank, police were everywhere. Like in Heat, they had to shoot their way out. They were armed with assault rifles and plenty of ammunition. The Los Angeles Police Department were not as well armed and a gun battle raged for 44 minutes. In the end, both of the robbers would lose their lives. The shootout would survive in infamy and controversy.
Afterward, speculation would follow regarding the connection between this real life robbery and the film Heat. Stories began to circulate that a copy of Heat was found in the robbers VCR. One of the robbers used an HK91 Marksman rifle which was also used in the movie, and rumors surfaced that they wanted a shootout for the media attention. If this is true, they lived a real life scene from Heat , but it cost them their lives.
However, there are also holes in this story. The robbers had stolen from armored trucks prior to the bank robbery, and the connection has no confirmation. Still, it’s a great story probably created by those involved with the marketing of Heat to gain attention.