Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Red Heat (1988)

Believe it or not, there are still a few movies in The Governator's catalog that I have not seen. Red Heat was one of these until last night. While I wouldn't exactly say that this is one of Arnie's most underrated films, I would say that of his not so good stuff, this is one of the better ones. Netflix gives the following synopsis*:

When Viktor (Ed O'Ross), a narcotics kingpin from the USSR, escapes from prison and heads for Chicago, Russia's brawniest, most fearless and most disciplined police detective (Arnold Schwarzenegger) follows Viktor to the Windy City and teams up with a loud-mouthed American cop (James Belushi). Together, the mismatched, culture-clashing, rule-breaking duo must overcome their differences and attempt to track down the nefarious Viktor.

Okay, what is it with naked fight scenes in Russian bath houses (see clip below)? For no good reason, this movie opens with Arnie in a loin cloth beating the crap out of some portly soviet in a bath/orgy house in the middle of a cold Siberian winter. If they wanted to show off Arnie's amazing bod, they could have easily edited in a few shots for Conan the Barbarian, and it would have made about as much sense as him beating the crap out of Le Fours in the snow. 

That being said, it was a pretty good fight scene. I particularly like the part where Arnie grabs a guy by the beard and then proceeds to man handle him. 

Also, Jim Belushi...? I guess I see what they were going for. The juxtaposition of Arnie's staunch soviet training and Jim's semi-overweight and super-annoying persona was indeed striking. I guess I just didn't buy him as "that no good, lazy, sonuvabitch.... but damn is he a good cop" kind of character. There was more than one occasion where Jim broke into a sprint, Martin Riggs style, attempting to chase down a car as it tore through oncoming traffic. But the difference between Jim Belushi and Mel Gibson is also striking.

All right, there was also some good about this movie. I did like Abdul Elijah (Brent Jennings) as the criminal mastermind. But I was upset that we saw so little of him. Also, the Gina Gershon appearance was good, but a Gina/Arnie love story would have been better. Oh yeah, and the part where Arnie was blasting henchman with the .45 reminded me of wreaking havoc with the Magnum on N64's Goldeneye, which I also liked.

In the end, Red Heat is a good one to have under your belt, but don't go out of your way to see it. There's a reason that Predator and Terminator are classics.

*Note: I would really like to be the guy who write these little synopses. How do you get this job???


Keanu Banderas said...

I have a vague recollection of this movie although I do remember a few of the finer points. For one, doesn't the main criminal in this flick have one of those sweet "pop out of your sleeve" type pistols? If so, that's definitely a few bonus points. Damn I want one of those.

Casey said...

You're dead on with that one. And I agree that it deserves honorable mention. No matter how crappy the movie, a "pop out of the sleeve" pistol always adds a star.