Set in Kansas City in 1933, Eastwood plays a police lieutenant known simply by his last name, Speer. Reynolds plays a former cop turned private eye named Mike Murphy. Both Speer and Murphy served on the force together and were once good friends, but are now bitter enemies. When Murphy's partner is slain they team up again to fight the mob.
The main idea behind City Heat (previously titles Kansas City Blues when co-scripter Blake Edwards was attached to direct) was the almighty box office ker-ching the studios thought would be generated by the pairing of (former) box office titans Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds.
Throwing them into a period gangster comedy in a world dominated at the time by the likes of Stallone and Schwarzenegger blowing all kinds of shit to pieces was a huge gamble that failed to pay off.
Most of the gags are derived from the co-stars trying to outsmart each other in a race to retrieve an accounts ledger belonging to mob boss Leon Coll (Tony Lo Bianco) from another mobster Primo Pitt (Rip Torn), with…
Clint 'n' Burt's stock personas are dropped into an utterly mechanical film which seems to think it's so good there's no need for anyone to try.
Eastwood at his worst. Shameful :(
At the time, this must have seemed like money in the bank – a flick with action icons Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds appearing together has to be a surefire hit? Well you’d think so, but not when they’re teamed in a feeble prohibition-era gangster comedy with no charm, class or spark whatsoever. Burt is affable as always, but Clint pretty much does nothing but scowl and grunt monosyllabically throughout the entire film. And not in his usual good way. Decent cast includes Madeleine Kahn, Rip Torn and Richard Roundtree, and Irene Cara as a speakeasy chanteuse. Shame they’re not given much to work with. Shot entirely on backlots and soundstages, the film looks shiny and glossy and about as…
While obviously not a masterpiece, City Heat is a pretty fun action comedy. Eastwood and Reynolds have decent chemistry and this mixes comedy evenly well with action.
City Heat seems to catch a lot of shit -- understandably -- but I didn't think it was terrible. Definitely underwhelming considering the talent at work here, but it ends up being nothing more (or less) than forgettable.