Red Heat [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (28th December 2009).
The Film

Is there anyone in the action game more quotable than Arnold Schwarzenegger? With so many classic action films under his belt (many of them from the 80's) there's been a plethora of lines we've all spouted off from time to time in various occasions... "Let off some steam Bennet," "I eat green berets for breakfast, and right now I am very hungry," (throws a knife at someone) "stick around," "Hasta la vista, baby," "I'll be back," "It's not a tumor!" and so on... of all the classic Arnie lines I don't think I've ever heard any quoted from "Red Heat" in fact until I got this Blu-ray I wasn't sure if I'd ever seen it (turns out I have), but it's probably one of the least memorable of Arnie's 80's era action films. "Red Heat" while not that great an overall film, is actually quite entertaining.

The plot is rudimentary; Capt. Ivan Danko (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a Russian police officer is hunting down a ruthless Russian drug dealer, Viktor Rostavili (Ed O'Ross) who has escaped and moved to the United States. Danko travels to the U.S. in order to bring him back to Russia, and is partnered with Chicago Detective Sergeant Art Ridzik (Jim Belushi). the pair team up to bring Rostavili to justice but also have other problems to overcome, like their mismatched personalities.

"Red Heat" is at its core, a buddy cop/action comedy film with nothing new to offer viewers. We've seen this all before, the fish out of water character, the mismatching of personalities teamed up together, overcoming their mis-trust of one-another to get the bad guy, and the many lost in translation moments that make up the comedic elements of the film. Hardly groundbreaking stuff, what keeps us watching though is Schwarzenegger and Belushi, who play off each other to great effect, the cold war era awkwardness is still funny and Belushi's attempts were actually good, they made me laugh! I say this because it's sad considering he's now relegated to the awful series "According to Jim" (2001-Present), how come none of the 80's funniest people aren't funny today? Hello, can you hear me Eddie Murphy? Tangent aside, their chemistry really works here, Arnie plays the cold, calculating machine-like character so well, after all he did it brilliantly in "Terminator" (1984) and "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" (1991), he does it again with a sort-of Russian accent. Although the mismatching of Arnie and Belushi is played on constantly it does get tiring and wears out its welcome, it's at this point that the film's flaws become more obvious and the thin plot doesn't do much to help keep audiences interested, especially when you know how its going to end as soon as the film starts.

"Red Heat" is such a typically 80's action film, aside from the blaring fact this film is set during the cold war, the film is so badly dated, from the fashions to the cars to the hammy sound effects (punches especially are cheesy and unrealistic sounding). There's a kitsch value in this film now, a relic of action comedies of days past, the fact is there are many other worthy action films from this era to watch, there are no surprises here, and that's probably why "Red Heat" isn't as memorable as Arnie's other films from the 80's.

Video

Presented in a widescreen ratio of 1.78:1 in high-definition 1080p 24/fps mastered in AVC MPEG-4 compression. Re-mastered for this HD release Lionsgate has delivered a mostly artificial image, for a film made in the 80's on older film stocks I was surprised to see there was hardly any grain to this image. This of course leads me to believe that Lionsgate processed this image using DNR, the result is a near grain-free and flat image. Furthermore skin texture looks waxy, not a good look. On the flip-side the image is sharp and crisp, colors hold up well and detail is much improved. The image is a 50/50 mix of good and bad, while a step up from the standard definition release, there's still too much tampering to make it a worthy upgrade.

Audio

Two audio tracks are included here, one in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mixed at 48kHz/24-bit and a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track. For the purposes of this review I chose to view the film with its DTS-HD audio. Hammy production sound effects aside, the sound track is about as average as they come. Dialogue is clear but lacks depth and sometimes comes across as hollow, surrounds aren't as active as they should be, there's some ambient sounds but mostly it's front heavy dialogue and then action scene effects that take up the surrounds, the score also pops in, overbearing at times but makes its presence known.
Optional subtitles are included in English, English for the hearing impaired, French and Spanish.

Extras

Lionsgate has ported over all the extras from the 'Special Edition' DVD release from 2004, these include four featurettes, the film's theatrical trailer and a collection of TV spots. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

First up is "East Meets West" featurette that runs for 9 minutes 40 seconds, the former executives of Carolco talk about the films they produced and on the genesis of this project, it's a retrospective look back at the company that made the film and the decision to green light it. It's worth checking out, but has limited repeat viewing value.

Next up is "A Stuntman for All Seasons" featurette that runs for 12 minutes 27 seconds, this is a look at stuntman Bennie Dobbins. Dobbins past away while making "Red Heat" this clip takes a look at the man and his career, as well as the impression he left on the people he worked with.

"I'm Not a Russian, But I Play One On TV" featurette follows and runs for 5 minutes 14 seconds, this clip takes a look at Ed O'Ross, his character and on playing a Russian in the film. It's a neat interview that shows fans how the actor transformed himself into the character.

The disc also includes the "Original Making-of TV Special" featurette that runs for 15 minutes 58 seconds, this is the usual EPK fluff that was produced to market the film, the usual brand of canned interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and film clips are edited together here.

There's also the film's original theatrical trailer which runs for 2 minutes 9 seconds.

Rounding out the extras are a series of four TV spots that runs for 1 minutes 41 seconds total, the spots are titled; "Vodka," "Big Foot," "Clean Up Chicago" and "He Gets The Job Done."

Overall

The Film: C Video: C- Audio: C+ Extras: C Overall: C+

 


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