Michael Mann on modern-day action movies: "I’m just bored by it"

Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer in Heat
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Michael Mann may be planning a sequel to his '90s hit actioner Heat, but he's not so keen on the industry's current offerings. 

Released in 1995, Heat stars Robert De Niro as career thief Neil McCauley opposite Al Pacino's LAPD detective Vincent Hanna. The movie depicts the conflict between the pair and the effect this has on both their personal and professional lives. Mann has since co-written a novel that acts as both a prequel and a sequel to the events of the movie and was published earlier this month. 

The filmmaker is planning to adapt the novel into a movie, but why not a TV series? "There’s fantastic work in television, and for whatever reason, it has a short half-life," he tells Total Film. "Dino De Laurentiis, one time, said to me about television, 'Michael, there’s a small screen and there’s the big screen'. That said it all, you know?"

He adds: "I’m not putting down television. It really is [a golden age]. But the big, cinematic experience – there’s nothing like it. When we had a screening of Heat at the Academy, probably 80 per cent of the audience had never seen it on the big screen, and the reaction was astonishing. I had the whole cast there, and Chris Nolan moderated it. It’s on the Blu-ray – we had a panel discussion afterwards. It was really fascinating to me, to see the difference and the impact."

But while the big screen reigns supreme for Mann, he isn't so impressed by modern-day action cinema. "I’m just bored by it. It’s not very interesting," he says. "I mean, sometimes the choreography is so outrageous that it’s fascinating, and it is quite good. But generally, no. It’s just stale."

For more from Mann, check out the new issue of Total Film magazine, which is on sale from Thursday, August 18.

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Editor-at-Large, Total Film

Jamie Graham is the Editor-at-Large of Total Film magazine. You'll likely find them around these parts reviewing the biggest films on the planet and speaking to some of the biggest stars in the business – that's just what Jamie does. Jamie has also written for outlets like SFX and the Sunday Times Culture, and appeared on podcasts exploring the wondrous worlds of occult and horror.