Red Heat (1988) — Hitting Jim Belushi levels of forgettability

“Very strange city. The crime is organized; the police is not.”

Justin’s rating: Wait, what’s a Cold War now?

Justin’s review: If we sat down to make a list of all of the weird mismatched buddy cop movies that came out in the 1980s, we might be here all night. It seemed like a new one was coming out every other week, always with some more ridiculous and unlikely pairing. A Harvard-educated FBI agent and a brainy parakeet? A Martian and a seven-year-old judo expert? Tom Hanks and a dog? At least two of those happened.

Another thing that happened was Arnold Schwarzenneger as a Russian cop who comes over to Chicago to wrap up a drug bust with Jim Belushi. While I was always up for a Schwarzenneger ’80s action romp, I kept avoiding Red Heat for some reason. Maybe that reason was that it felt like it was really wrong for Arnold to represent the Soviets at that time, or maybe because I see “Jim Belushi” on a marquee and I make a loud distraction and then run for the nearest exit.

The way I see it, the appeal of both making and watching buddy cop movies is that you get a two-for-one deal: some action from the cop thing, and some comedy from the weird pairing. Also you get a sax crooning all over the soundtrack where it’s not wanted. None of that is going to be that amazing on its own — there’s a tacit understanding of this going in — but altogether, you kind of feel like you got something out of it. You got your time’s worth.

I don’t know if I got my time’s worth here, however. The action is decent but nothing I haven’t seen in a million other cop movies, and the comedy is… well, it’s Arnold being completely straight-laced and Jim Belushi trying to be a third-rate Bill Murray. It’s honestly not that funny. So they can go chase drug dealers and try to milk conflict from the “Soviet vs. USA” clash, but I’m not seeing the appeal.

At least I feel as though I’ve completed some sort of Arnold Schwarzenneger 1980s movie set by having seen this, but I can tell you that I’d rather see most any of the others before having to see Red Heat again.

Didja notice?

  • That’s a whole lot of semi- and fully-naked people working out and bathing completely silently. It’s a weird way to start a film.
  • And now we have naked people fighting in the snow. It’s just way more butts than I was expecting, to be honest.
  • Gotta love that fake Cryllic font. Flip an R backward and it’s Russian!
  • Man, I thought Arnold just tore off that guy’s leg there
  • There’s a whole bunch of Russian speaking going on in this first part. Reportedly, Arnold spent three months learning it.
  • Laurence Fishburne was young, once
  • Nothing like criminals escaping in your mother’s station wagon to make them seem fearsome
  • Ha, the police chief actually called him a “loose cannon”
  • Prison guards often dump cops off in the middle of jail and say “you’re on your own”
  • That lady in the hotel shootout never stops screaming or asking questions, does she?
  • Chicken with busses? I’ll allow it.

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