This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative
Pacific Heights is one of those films where you feel like the main villain gets real lucky. His strategy of sabotage is very high risk since if you try this with the wrong person you are absolutely going to get shot. A lot of people just wouldn’t tolerate this guy’s antics right from the jump. The movie can be a bit annoying in that way as the main character also makes so many mistakes that he basically sabotages himself here. You wish that he would be able to make the right move at least once instead of crashing further and further.
The movie kicks off with two people being beat up and then we cut to Drake and Patty as the main characters. They are brand new landlords who have made an investment into buying a house so they can lease out the rooms. It’s a big investment but this does tend to be a fairly lucrative career as you can make a whole lot of money out of it. You do have to have a strong personality for it though because you will have to deal with crazy residents from time to time. They’re confident that they can find the right people though and so when Carter shows up and is too scared to do a credit check, Drake is not worried. This guy is going to pay “up-front later” which sounds like a contradiction but since when do wire transfers bounce right? Well the money never arrives and the guy has locked himself in the room while doing a lot of drilling. He’s also invited other people into the apartment and they are doing something crazy there. Can Drake and Patty stop this guy before he wrecks their livelihood?
Now one thing you should know is that landlords have a whole lot of power. Why do you think you hear so many stories of people being kicked to the curb? The power is not unlimited but Drake absolutely had some real options here. Not allowing Carter to buy the house before paying would certainly have been a good start but after that you’re not yet doomed. He should have broken the lock when he found out it was changed because that goes against the building policy. By the time he calls the locksmith all of the damage is already done. He should have gone to the cops way sooner instead of trying to handle it himself which is really where things backfired a lot.
Later on he is baited into entering the building again while there is a restraining order in place which was not a good idea and he just falls for every trap like beating up on Carter in front of the cops. He really makes the villain’s job super easy. He also didn’t react well with his girlfriend because he got so stressed out that he starts to be rude to her as well so even their relationship starts to get a little rocky. Drake’s whole life is falling apart and to a large extent he is the one digging his own grave.
Of course at the end of the day Carter is still the villain here and the one who needs to be blamed but you just know that Drake should have handled things way better. Patty had a much cooler head throughout the film. Unfortunately she didn’t tend to think of many ideas to help so in that way both of them were doomed but at least she wasn’t actively sabotaging their only chances of winning the case. See, they hire an attorney (Stephanie) to represent them in kicking Carter out and it should be an open and shut case but Drake being tricked into assault and violating court orders doesn’t help things at all. It was a really bad look for him.
As for Carter, surprisingly there isn’t some kind of big twist like Drake bullied him in high school or he wants revenge on the family for firing him. None of that, to this guy it’s just a business and he makes a whole career out of messing up people’s homes. It’s certainly a crazy hobby if I’ve ever heard of one but he just keeps going at it and has done all right for himself all these years. He got beat up in the opening so at least that group gave him a scare but realistically he’ll just use that to sue and cause a fuss unless you hide any evidence linking you to the beating. So you either have to take him down for good or put him in a position where he can’t sabotage your place later on.
I absolutely don’t blame the other neighbors for moving out either because there’s no way they could put up with this. The loud drilling at night was just way too crazy and of course Carter also causes a whole roach infestation. Roaches are hard to deal with and when you know where they are coming from but can’t do anything about it then that becomes a problem. The house was basically not salvageable at that point. I’m impressed they were even able to start rebuilding the place after the way everything was broken.
Patty’s plan of revenge had some promise although I think she needed to take it a little further to be really effective. Ultimately if she had gotten away a bit sooner then at least he might not have figured out it was her but at the end of the day it’s still just a minor inconvenience at best. You need to find a way to lock him up for a longer period of time although a large part of the blame also goes to the lady who agreed to pay Carter’s bail because that was crazy.
The film’s fairly tame although the climax naturally gets a little intense. Ultimately fighting in an unfinished house will always feel really dangerous because there are nails everywhere. Drake looks awful throughout the climax so the less said about him the better. I can tell you that I definitely expected much better out of him. At the very least the adrenaline and rage should have carried him through a lot better than they did.
Overall, Pacific Heights is one of those films that’s mainly annoying because of how the main character does everything half heartedly and as a result he constantly gets into trouble. You have to go 100% at anything you try to do because otherwise you are definitely going to be in trouble. At the end of the day I would say the film was decent. It doesn’t have a whole lot of replay value to me but it wasn’t bad either. If you’re looking for a film where the resident has the edge over the landlord for once then this is an interesting one to check out. You just know that if this guy went up against any experienced landlord then he would be in a whole world of trouble and I don’t love his odds of surviving.