City Heat (1984) Review

Director: Richard Benjamin

Genre(s): Action, Comedy, Crime

Runtime: 93 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG

IMDb Page

Sometimes it feels like I’m the only person on the planet who likes City Heat. Is it as good as a team-up of Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds should’ve been? No, but it’s a serviceable action-comedy about a police detective (Clint Eastwood) and a private eye (Burt Reynolds) in Prohibition-era Kansas City who form a reluctant partnership to investigate a murder…or something. Yeah, the murky plot is probably the film’s weak link, but at least the movie’s relatively short runtime keeps things under control.

Set in some of the seediest locations in Kansas City of the interwar years, City Heat feels like a gangster-oriented neo-noir at times, but, ultimately, it’s probably not hard-boiled enough to be considered one. It’s a comedy, and the humor is the kind that you chuckle at despite it being somewhat lame. This isn’t a laugh riot, but neither is it a cringe-inducing flop. That being said, it can be tonally awkward…but just a little bit.

On the action front, there are some solid fist fights and shootouts, but nothing really to write home about. The physical mayhem comes at regular intervals, enough to prevent the flick, with its convoluted plot, from being boring. In the end, the comedy is just funny enough and the action just exciting enough to make City Heat work properly.

Despite almost being sunk by a story lacking immediacy, this is a picture I’d recommend to fans of the two stars. Just remember to keep your expectations low. The closest it comes to brushing with greatness is when the audience briefly sees an advertisement for the James Cagney gangster film The Public Enemy (1931) in the background. Yeah, a masterpiece it ain’t, but I still like it.

My rating is 7 outta 10.

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