Ivan Danko (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a Russian cop sent to the US to extradite a vicious gangland drug-dealer (Ed O’Ross). But when Danko and his prisoner are ambushed by Viktor’s friends, the Russian escapes, a veteran Chicago cop is killed, and things start to feel personal for the reluctant duo.
On paper, Red Heat has all the elements for the classic ’80s buddy-cop flick. The problem is that it’s hard to tell if it’s a comedy or a straight-up drama. There’s plenty of evidence to put on both sides of the scales. Take Arnie’s deadpan Russian, pair him with Belushi’s wise-cracking cop, and add some seriously WTF moments—including a naked sauna fight—and Red Heat has plenty to make you laugh-out-loud. However there are also some pretty brutal moments and surprising subplot about black power activists using drugs to bring down the establishment… which isn’t exactly your standard comedy fare.
But let’s face it, you don’t watch an Arnie movie to do too much thinking and despite the fact that the film doesn’t really know what it wants to be, it’s a still fun ride.
StudioCanal’s new 4k release, which comes with plenty of featurettes, is a fan-pleaser and while Red Heat never really did the sort of box office enjoyed by the likes of Predator or Terminator, it’s a nice little slice of nostalgia.