Oct 212019

Red Heat is a sometimes engaging and entertaining 1980s-era actioner but the pairing of Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Belushi never had much of on-screen chemistry, though if you’re a fan of action schlock, probably worth checking out.



Red Heat

Genre(s): Action, Drama, Suspense/Thriller
Lionsgate | R – 104 min. – $22.99 | October 29, 2019

Date Published: 10/21/2019 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Walter Hill
Writer(s): Walter Hill (story), Harry Kleiner & Walter Hill and Troy Kennedy Martin (screenplay)
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Belushi, Peter Boyle, Ed O’Ross, Laurence Fishburne

Features: Featurettes, Theatrical Trailer
Slip Cover: Maybe
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 2160p/Widescreen 1.85
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C

Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3.25/5

Plot Synopsis: Captain Ivan Danko (ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER), a by-the-book Russian detective who partners with Detective Art Ridzik (JAMES BELUSHI), an undisciplined American cop, to track down Russia’s deadliest drug smuggler — who had killed Danko’s partner — through the mean streets of Chicago.

Quick Hit Review: There’s nothing like 1980s schlocky action films from Arnold Schwarzenegger and add in the buddy-movie formula, one would think Red Heat was a sure-fire winner. Well, not so much, albeit it is a competently directed film from Walter Hill.

For his part, Schwarzenegger was a lot of fun in his role as I do often love dry humor and his straight-faced line deliveries were often amusing. Unfortunately the other side of that formula is the casting of Jim Belushi as the brash American cop which on the surface seems like setting up for easy contrast but something about his on-screen chemistry with Schwarzenegger never quite gelled, especially when you compare a movie like Lethal Weapon and the dynamic that develops between Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. Perfection.

I’m not sure if merely recasting the role would’ve helped, though I can imagine Jim’s brother, had he been alive, might’ve made for a better pairing, or even someone like Dustin Hoffman perhaps would’ve worked. In any case, whenever Schwarzenegger and Belushi were on screen, never really felt any sort of budding friendship that we’re supposed to have at the end, and probably open up for a sequel had this been a massive box office success (spoiler: it wasn’t; $76 million adjusted).

As I mentioned, the film was directed by Walter Hill, the oft brilliant filmmaker behind a fantastic buddy-film, 48 Hrs, one where the talents of Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte bounce off each other’s diverse personalities so brilliantly, as well as a few other classics like The Warriors (though he’s had his share of duds, Supernova, Bullet to the Head and The Assignment come to mind). I did like some of the choices he made, kind of bucking the action-thriller tropes, like instead of some generic car chase, he instead chose a bus vs. bus chase sequence instead, and it was hilariously entertaining, perhaps the saving grace of an otherwise forgettable, watch-and-toss, film.



This release may come with a slip cover, though my review copy did not. Could be a similar situation as the release of Anna… Anyway, inside is a redemption code for the Digital Copy. All of the features are included on both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Man Who Raised Hollywood (15:36) — This is a profile on the legendary action hero and his career, with interviews by those who have worked with him.

Political Context of Red Heat (9:54) examines some of the political undertones of a Russian working with an American.

East Meets West (9:38) is a featurette on the pairing of a couple of producers for Carolco of uniting the East and West cinema.

A Stunt Man for All Seasons (12:24) is a tribute to Bennie Dobbins who passed away of a heart attack during production.

I’m Not a Russian, But I Play One on TV (5:41) is on actor Ed O’Ross who plays the villain.

Original Making-of TV Special (18:35) — Fun little featurette from 1987/88 with on-set interviews with members of the cast and crew.

Theatrical Trailer (2:13)


VIDEO – 4.0/5

Lionsgate releases Red Heat onto 4K Ultra HD where it’s presented with a 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and a 2160p high-definition transfer (HEVC/H.265 codec). The picture quality here is decent though not sure it’s a big improvement over a properly transferred Blu-ray where the old one was stricken with the tools the studio utilized in the early (dark) days of Blu-ray with edge enhancements and the like. So in that regard, this is probably worth an upgrade, just compared to others from the time period, it’s not great, but still fine. More specifically, the detail here was good with a nice sharpness to the close-ups, black levels were stark and the original film grain and noise has been retained.

AUDIO – 3.5/5

In all likelihood, the included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is probably the same one included on the 2009 Blu-ray release. As such, it’s a serviceable track but does lack a certain amount of depth you expect would be present during the shootouts, where gunfire hardly had much of an impact, or the chase sequence at the end. Dialogue though comes through the center channel with good clarity but the front and rear speakers were on the softer side.


OVERALL – 3.5/5

Red Heat is a sometimes engaging and entertaining 1980s-era actioner but the pairing of Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Belushi never had much of on-screen chemistry, though if you’re a fan of action schlock, probably worth checking out. The 4K UHD release has an improved video transfer over its old Blu-ray counterpart and a good selection of bonus features.


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