Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Belushi, Peter Boyle
Director: Walter Hill
Running Time: 103 mins
Red Heat is an American film about a Chicago detective who teams up with a Soviet police captain to track down a ruthless drug dealer, who the Soviets want to bring back and prosecute on home soil.
Pretty much as distinctly ’80s as you’ll find from Hollywood, Red Heat is a right laugh from start to finish. Full of hilarious stereotypes, entertainingly one-dimensional characters, and a surprisingly dynamic duo in James Belushi and a more-reticent-than-usual Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s light-hearted cop comedy at its very best.
Admittedly, this isn’t a film that’s going to stick long in the memory on the back of its story. For the most part, the plot here is fine, and although the two lead detectives seem to get past the obstacles in their way really rather easily, there’s enough action and enjoyably familiar crime tropes there to entertain.
That being said, this isn’t a great cop movie, but more a good buddy comedy. As impressive as he often is in comedies, you wouldn’t often have Arnold Schwarzenegger down as a light-hearted buddy comedy star, but for some reason, he really works well alongside James Belushi here.
Perhaps it’s because of the pair’s deliberately polar opposite personalities and sensibilities, or perhaps it’s because Schwarzenegger goes all out with an Ivan Drago-esque level of Soviet stereotyping, playing up the emotionless characteristics of a Communist captain to the full.
Belushi is likable enough as the lead American, but it’s Schwarzenegger who really makes this film, proving fantastically likable in his role as he has so much fun with a delightfully stereotyped personality. It’s not immensely clever or original, but it’s light-hearted and exactly what you want to see from a silly ’80s buddy comedy.
Overall, then, I had quite a bit of fun with Red Heat. It’s no masterpiece, and there are far better cop movies from the era to watch instead. But if you’re looking for an enjoyably familiar buddy comedy complete with great performances, some good chuckles and a dynamite performance from Arnold Schwarzenegger, then this is the one to watch. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5 overall.