Thursday, October 28, 2010

625 - Red Heat review

I watched this as part of a Walter Hill kick, and was baffled at what a mess had unfolded. Not that a star-vehicle actioneer comes with high expectations for plot, but “Red Heat” features a mystery that’s damn near impossible to follow, and characters that entirely lack any of the pizzazz we would expect from such a production. Arnold’s strength as a star was his sense of humor and willingness to wink at the audience, but here his gig as a Soviet policeman saps all the fun out of his lines. If the Terminator can be funny, why can’t a stone-faced Russian? And everybody knows that Jim Belushi is a walking charisma vacuum, an awful choice for virtually any major role. But I was surprised by the film’s treatment of his character, which is to say as a worthless, blithering moron. Aren’t buddy cop movies supposed to feature a pair whose skills complement one another? The despair over the material seems visible at times, especially by Peter Boyle, who handles his thankless role as a nagging police chief with a pout on his face, as if trying to encourage casting agents not to consider him for more roles like this one. Hill’s trademark action, which features macho men shot in close up engaging in close-quarters gun-fighting, supplies the few interesting frames.

1 out of 5

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