A Russian officer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and a Chicago cop (Jim Belushi) team up to bring down a drug kingpin (Ed O’Ross) in 1988’s Red Heat.
There are parallels with Rocky IV in this picture’s Cold War escapades and Schwarzenegger’s character is called Ivan Danko, which is almost Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago – but the novelty of making Arnie Russian wears off the moment he starts speaking in his usual garbled monotone.
The direction from Walter Hill (Southern Comfort) appears to have been “Just do Terminator“, hence Arnie’s robotic performance entirely devoid of personality; a problem considering he’s the main character. Belushi isn’t much better as his obnoxious partner, and their total non-chemistry is about as fun as a gulag.
Like Eraser the film appears to have been written as a comedy but directed like a gritty thriller, murdering the duo’s potentially playful banter with ruthless efficiency. They’re meant to put aside politics and grow to understand each other but all they really seem to learn is that the real enemy is black people.
Red Heat is a superior war-on-drugs flick to Collateral Damage; there’s no shortage of gunfire, as well as appearances from “Larry” Fishburne and Mr. Treeger from Friends (dressed as the same character). But it fails as a buddy cop movie and desperately lacks both plot and Arnie eccentricity.
Sure he mentions owning a parakeet and yells “Cocainum!” but appears to be sleepwalking his way toward an $8 million paycheck. The good news is if you do fall asleep (and you will) you’ll still be able to follow the story because it’s so basic and boring – even on cocainum.