Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Career detective Hanna (Al Pacino) is hot on the trail of career criminal McCauley (Robert De Niro), who is busy assembling a team for that proverbial Last Big Job. But then an extravagantly botched armed car robbery leaves three security officers dead and a stooge named Waingro on the lam, running not only from the cops but from a revenge-seeking McCauley himself. Waingro enlists a money-laundering banker, burned on a previous job, to take McCauley out of play. Meanwhile, Hanna's marriage disintegrates (stop me if you've heard this before, he's a cop obsessed with being a cop) even as McCauley falls for a bookstore clerk/graphic artist; gee-willikers, maybe they can escape together, to the Good Life... Michael Mann's thriller seems to have been built around two standout sequences: a ridiculously complicated midday shoot-out in downtown LA, and a hushed, tense conversation between McCauley and Hanna in a coffee shop. The rest is bloated static (including, critically, the final showdown on an airport runway). An all-star cast is generally wasted on zest-less characters, Dennis Haysbert in particular. Overrated, disposable exercise in by-the-numbers con-man fiction.