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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Red Heat: SE
Red Heat: SE
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // September 7, 2004
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Shannon Nutt | posted October 11, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
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P R I N T
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THE MOVIE

The buddy cop movie has grown into a tired cliché in Hollywood, but it was still pretty fresh when Walter Hill (the man who may have invented the buddy cop idea with 48 Hours) came up with the premise for Red Heat.

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Russian Police Captain Ivan Danko who, as the movie begins, is hot on the trail of criminal Viktor Rosta (Ed O'Ross), who is looking to bring the drug trade into the Soviet Union. While in pursuit of Rosta in the movie's opening moments, Danko's partner is killed and Rosta escapes to America, where he is picked up in Chicago for a traffic violation.

Danko is then sent to Chicago, where he teams up with cop Art Ridzik (James Belushi) and the two work together to try and hunt down Rosta, who escapes during the extradition proceedings.

Red Heat is one of a string of 1980's films produced by Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna for Carolco Pictures, and those familiar with their other efforts like the Rambo and Terminator movies can look forward to that same kind of "feel" from Red Heat. The action, violence and pace are "over the top," but the movie is always very-watchable, even when it's not very realistic.

Red Heat proved to be one of Schwarzenegger's less successful releases in the United States, yet it is one of his better performances and holds up well over 15 years after the film's theatrical release. It's a shame it didn't make enough money to warrant a sequel (seeing Belushi's character go to Russia would have been a hoot), but it's a solid film with enough action and humor to satisfy Arnie's fans.

THE DVD

Video:
The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen at its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. While the transfer is okay, it isn't spectacular, and there is a good deal of grain and some dirt evident on the print. The picture has a somewhat soft look to it, and overall I was mildly disappointed with this transfer, although it's far from horrible.

Audio:
Viewers will have the option of listening to a 5.1 Dolby or 2.0 Dolby track. The 5.1 track is quite nice, with James Horner's music really bouncing around on the speakers during those occasions when it is prominent in the film.

Extras:
Lion's Gate has added a nice selection of bonus features on this disc, with the new material being anamorphic.

The new, anamorphic material includes East Meets West, which is not only a look at how Red Heat came about, but it's also a look at the partnership between Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna. Then there's a featurette entitled A Stunt Man For All Seasons - a 12-minute tribute to Stunt Coordinator Bennie Dobbins, who died of a heart attack during the shoot and to whom the film is dedicated at the beginning of the end credits. There's also I'm Not A Russian, But I Play One On TV, a new interview with actor Ed O'Ross in which he explains how he prepared for the part of Viktor Rosta.

Non-anamorphic features include a 16-minute Making Of TV Special; four 30-second Original TV Spots (which are fun because they include the main characters talking directly to the camera in bits that were created specifically for the TV promos); the original Theatrical Trailer for the movie; plus three other Trailers for Terminator 2: Extreme Edition, Replicant and The Punisher.

THE BOTTOM LINE

This is a nicely made Special Edition, and while I would have preferred a better transfer (then again, I don't know what kind of source material they had to work with) and a few more extras (a commentary track would have really been nice), I'm still giving this release a recommendation.
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