What makes the film so enjoyable to watch now is comparing it to Heat. Running for just over 90min, the bulk of LA Takedown was lifted for Heat. Most of the dialogue survived, Mann only made minor revisions to his screenplay. In some cases dialogue is used in different scenes for different characters - but most of the major set pieces in Heat are found in LA Takedown - the opening robbery, Waingro's murder of the prostitute, the botched surveillance job by the cops, the coffee-shop sequence, and the street shootout. The Pacino/De Niro face-off at the coffee shop in Heat is taken word for word from the scene in LA Takedown, so Mann must have really locked down the screenplay - no improvising here.
With HEAT, Mann expanded his tight TV movie into a 3-hour epic and introduces new characters and back stories, like the getaway driver (who only appears at bank robbery in the TV film), or the Roger Van Sant character. The most radical revisions to the script are the expansion of the Val Kilmer character and the introduction of the Ashley Judd character. Also, the ending of Heat at LAX is brand new. In LA Takedown the film ends with a shoot out at Waingro's hotel.
The acting is variable in the TV film - Scott Plank who plays the Vicent Hanna character is fine. Less so is Alex McArthur who plays the De Niro character (here named Patrick McLaren) - he's a little too intense for my liking - De Niro brought much more subtlety to the part. Alex McArthur is recognizable as the serial killer from Friedkin's Rampage. Also, appearing in the film is Michael Rooker some three years after his iconic turn in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Sadly he has nothing to do in this film. If You can find this on DVD, its worth picking up. My copy is the UK MIA edition, released in 2000 and like other MIA DVDs it’s only a minor step up from VHS.