A mutually uneasy alliance is formed between the stern Captain Ivan Danko of the Moscow Police and his American equivalent, the Chicago Detective Art Ridzik when the latter captures Viktor Rostavili, a dangerous Georgian drug kingpin. With his partner murdered by Viktor's hands, Ivan lands in Chicago to extradite the crime lord back to Russia, however, when he manages to escape, a frenzied chase in the bustling downtown will begin. In the end, to bring down the ruthless criminal, are the two reluctant comrades who are worlds apart willing to put their differences aside? Written by
Walter Hill is a director known for his tough guy action movies (The Warriors, Extreme Prejudice, Southern Comfort) and in the early 80s he scored big with 48 Hours, a story of mis-matched partners working together to catch the bad guys. He repeated that formula again in 1988 with Red Heat, though it had become a regular cliché by this point.
Ivan Danko is a no-nonsense Soviet cop sent to Chicago to extradite a notorious Russian criminal back to Communist soil. While in America he is teamed-up with easy-going Detective Art Ridzik as they jump over new hurdles and suffer multiple setbacks. As an action comedy it offers a fare amount (but just not enough) of laughs and thrills. Big Arn is amusing a the brick-faced Danko and Belushi (in his first of three appearances in Arnie movies) is likable enough. Peter Boyle and a young Laurence Fishburne help appear in smaller roles as Ridzik's cynical superiors, but are not given much else to do. Gina Gershon (yum yum) shows up as a damsel in distress, but extends the plot without deepening it. Even James Horner's score is kind of middle-ground, neither good nor terrible.
There's no real problem or fault with Red Heat except that is just doesn't offer an exhilarating amount of what it sets up. It's so straight-forward and lacking in mystery and intrigue when it could so easily have written in. A bit of a missed-opportunity, but certainly worth watching and owning for action and Arnie fans.
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