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Walter Hill
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Belushi, Peter Boyle
Writing Credits:
Harry Kleiner, Walter Hill, Troy Kennedy-Martin

A tough Russian policeman is forced to partner up with a cocky Chicago police detective when he is sent to Chicago to apprehend a Georgian drug lord who killed his partner and fled the country.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS-HD 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 10/29/2019

• “The Man Who Raised Hollywood” Featurette
• “Political Context” Featurette
• “East Meets West” Featurette
• “A Stuntman for All Seasons” Featurette
• “I'm Not a Russian, But I Play One on TV” Featurette
• TV Special
• Trailer
&bull. Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Red Heat [4K UHD] (1988)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 24, 2019)

Ah, the late 1980s! When Arnold Schwarzenegger developed from a muscle-bound lunk into an “A”-level movie star, and when we actually bought goofball Jim Belushi as an action hero.

Well, not really – not for the latter, at least. A short time after 1988’s Red Heat hit screens in June 1988, Die Hard showed that an actor best-known for TV comedy could shift into action mode, but Belushi never really made that leap.

Viktor Rostavili (Ed O’Ross) acts as a drug kingpin in Soviet Georgia, and Moscow Militia Captain Ivan Danko (Schwarzenegger) attempts to capture him. However, Viktor escapes and makes his way to the US.

When Viktor lands in Chicago, Ivan trails close behind him and attempts to finish the job. He finds himself partnered with hard-edged Chicago Detective Art Ridzik (Belushi), as the two form an uneasy alliance in an attempt to bring Viktor to justice.

As I recall, Heat got a lot of hype back in 1988, and it started strong, with a gross good enough to make it number one for its particular opening week. However, it wound up as only the 31st highest-grossing film of the year – 24 places behind the aforementioned Die Hard - a disappointment for a much-touted summer blockbuster.

I can’t say that this acts as a tragedy or any form of disappointment. Formulaic even for the 80s, the movie hits the usual notes without any real conviction or creativity.

It takes no imagination to figure out where the story will go. Any genre fan knows in advance that our leads will initially hate each other but bond by the end, and that Viktor won’t survive until the end credits.

Spoilers? Sure, go that way if you want, but I figured out those “plot twists” before I saw the movie, so I don’t think “predictable story points” equals “spoilers”.

I’m pretty sure I saw Heat back in 1988, but I can’t claim any of it looks familiar – or to be more accurate, the film looks too familiar. A stale collection of every 1980s action film/buddy cop cliché, we find a borderline unwatchable tale here.

At its core, Heat really wants to give us nothing more than the standard mismatched partners action-comedy. Director Walter Hill created one of the genre’s most successful entries with 1982’s 48 Hrs., so he seemed like the right party to deliver the goods.

However, Heat saddles us with such a mushy plot that any potential thrills or fun fall by the wayside. Heck, I’m not even sure this film has a plot beyond “cops threaten a lot of bad guys”.

Heat barely attempts to create characters, as it leaves all involved as loose stereotypes. The script never attempts anything more than the most basic skeletal elements for its roles, so we find nothing interesting about any of them.

Despite the loose, disconnected nature of the story and the one-dimensional characters, Heat doesn’t have to flop. However, throw in fairly lousy performances and any potential for fun flushes down the toilet.

Schwarzenegger essentially plays Danko as a variant on Terminator, so expect no personality or charm. As his American counterpart, Belushi just goes with his usual loud, overbearing shtick, factors that make him way more annoying than amusing.

We see zero chemistry between our leads, as they feel disconnected at all times. They never click in any way, shape, or form, and that lack of interpersonal dynamic becomes a drag.

We do see Gina Gershon in an early role, so there’s that piece of trivia. Otherwise, I can find virtually no positives in this muddled, dull stab at an action-comedy.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B/ Bonus C

Red Heat appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a consistently inconsistent image.

Sharpness became one of the up and down elements. At its best, the movie brought nice clarity and could feel accurate.

However, edge haloes cropped up at times, and those came with shots that seemed hyper-sharp, such as a landscape element in Russia. The haloes didn’t appear severe, but they brought some distractions.

Grain management seemed erratic as well. Some shots offered natural grain, but in other scenes – especially lower-light interiors – it felt like the transfer stripped the image clean and then added artificial grain.

This meant grain felt oddly static at times. While the grain wasn’t truly “frozen”, it lacked the normal movement and just felt off.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized. Print flaws also remained absent.

Colors looked fine for the most part. Like other aspects of the image, they could seem a bit “jacked up” at times, but they usually came across as well-represented. The disc’s HDR gave them a little extra pep but not much.

Blacks were fairly deep, but shadows tended to seem a bit thick. The smoothed-out feel in low-light shots made them on the murky side.

HDR bolstered contrast – probably too much at times. Some shots displayed whites that felt too bright, though the balance mostly seemed fine. I’d guess that the 4K UHD offered the best home video version of Red Heat to date, but it showed more visual compromises than I’d like.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it tended to show its age. That said, it was largely fine given those limitations.

The soundscape showed decent stereo imaging for the music and gave us a fair sense of environment. I wouldn’t call movement and integration truly natural, but they added some involvement to the proceedings and used the five channels in a reasonably satisfactory manner.

Audio quality was dated but decent. Speech could be a little brittle, but the lines remained intelligible and were usually natural enough. Occasional instances of edginess arose, usually during shouted dialogue.

Music gave us acceptable vivacity, and effects seemed okay. They lacked great clarity but only a little distortion resulted, mainly due to gunshots. This was a more than serviceable soundtrack for a 31-year-old movie.

A few featurettes fill out the set, and we start with The Man Who Raised Hollywood. In this 15-minute, 36-second reel, we hear from filmmakers Arthur Allan Seidelman, Peter Hyams, Michel Ferry, Edward Pressman, Yannick Dahan, and Stephane Moissakis.

“Raised” acts as an appreciation of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and it gives us no information specific to Red Heat, even though it comes with copious clips from that film. Much of this leans toward praise for the actor, but enough interesting anecdotes emerge to make “Raised” worth a look.

In Political Context of Red Heat, we locate a nine-minute, 54-second show with biographer Dave Saunders. He offers some historical perspective on the movie and its place in time.

Saunders provides a mix of decent observations, though I suspect “Context” will prove more useful for those who didn’t live through the period.

Next comes East Meets West. It runs nine minutes, 38 seconds and brings notes from executive producers Andrew Vanja and Mario Kassar.

“West” covers the movie’s roots and path to the screen, story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, the movie’s release and after effects. Expect a smattering of basic production notes but not much I’d call memorable.

With A Stuntman for All Seasons, we find a 12-minute, 24-second program with Vanja, Schwarzenegger (from 1988), stuntmen Bob Herron, Max Kleven, Walter Scott, Roy Clark, Bob Hoy, Troy Brubaker, and Terry Leonard, and actor Ed O’Ross.

They discuss Bennie Dobbins, a stunt coordinator who died during the Red Heat shoot. We get a nice appreciation.

I'm Not a Russian, But I Play One on TV goes for five minutes, 11 seconds and includes info from Ross. “Russian” looks at Ross’s character and performance as well as some experiences during the shoot. He gives us a few good notes about his work.

In addition to a trailer, the disc finishes with a circa 1988 TV Special. It fills 18 minutes, 36 seconds with comments from Schwarzenegger, O’Ross, and actors Jim Belushi and Gina Gershon.

The special touches on story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, and general thoughts. Though we get a handful of worthwhile thoughts, the show mostly acts as the usual promotional fluff.

This package also includes a Blu-ray copy of Heat, one that provides the same extras as the 4K UHD. Usually Lionsgate tosses in old Blu-rays with their 4K UHDs, so this came as a surprise. As far as I can tell, the 2019 Blu-ray appears as an exclusive with this 4K UHD set – I can find no evidence that Lionsgate plans to release it on its own.

As much as I’d like to say Red Heat aged poorly, I doubt it fared any better 31 years ago. Slow, trite and predictable, the movie went nowhere. The Blu-ray comes with erratic visuals as well as fairly good audio and a decent mix of supplements. Red Heat offers a reminder of the 1980s’ weaker action trends.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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