The Best Val Kilmer Movie Is Finally Getting A Long-Awaited Upgrade

By Nathan Kamal | Published

the saint

Val Kilmer is having an unexpected renaissance. After a long stretch in the 2000s in which he starred in films like the notoriously terrible thriller The Snowman and far too many direct-to-DVD films, Kilmer has begun to re-emerge back into public consciousness as one of the most interesting and talented actors of his generation. The revival of Val Kilmer can only be helped by the very overdue upgrade to his 1995 crime drama Heat. The classic Michael Mann film has been announced to be re-released on 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray on August 9 from 20th Century Studios (formerly 20th Century Fox Studios and now a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company). 

Val Kilmer
Val Kilmer in Heat

Heat is reported to be released on both UHD BD and 4k SteelBook with HDR10 High Dynamic Range. The sound quality has been bumped up to a sterling DTS- HD Master Audio 5.1. Longtime Michael Mann fans will know the director’s legendary tendency to tweak his movies after the fact, so it is worth noting that this release will be the Director’s Definitive Edition with meticulous color correction. The Ultimate Collector’s Edition of Heat will also include “Legacy” bonus features, including a Q&A with Mann, another Q&A with Heat mega-fan Christopher Nolan, and a three-part making-of documentary.

In Heat, Val Kilmer stars alongside Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight, a young Natalie Portman, and a killer’s row of actors. His character Chris Shiherlis (which was originally intended for Keanu Reeves) is part of Robert De Niro’s Neil McCauley’s bank robbery crew. The film primarily follows both McCauley and Al Pacino’s Police Lieutenant Vincent Hanna as they circle each other in a high-stakes game of cops and robbers. Like many of Michael Mann’s films, it deliberately contrasts and compares the similarities of the men on either side of the law, including Val Kilmer’s quiet, deadly character. The movie has also been enormously influential on other filmmakers, with the opening of Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster 2008 film The Dark Knight serving as an extended homage to the meticulously planned and timed robberies of Val Kilmer and Robert De Niro’s crew. 

Aside from the re-release of Heat as a 4K Blu-ray, Val Kilmer is more prominent in cinema than he has been in years. He recently reprised his role of Lieutenant Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky in the blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick; due to his battles with throat cancer and the loss of his voice, AI technology was used to recreate his speaking tones. Val Kilmer also wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed documentary Val; directors Leo Scott and Ting Poo took over 800 hours of footage that Kilmer had taken of himself over decades and edited it into a meditation on his life and career. Additionally, with the revival of the 1988 fantasy film Willow as a Disney+ series, we may have the chance to see his cocky rogue swordsman Madmartigan back in action in some capacity. Until then, we will have the most crystal clear version of Heat ever to tide us over.