Towards the end of the eighties the Hollywood movies started to reach out to gap the bridge torn between the two nations by the Cold War. Red Heat joins up two sides of the same coin kind of detectives from the rivalling nations together in a buddy cop movie that gets some extra mileage out of its nonconventional setup.
Ivan Danko, the CCCP detective played by Schwarzenegger draws a strong resemblance with Ivan Drago, a big framed antagonist from Rocky IV that famously muttered out only 9 lines of dialogue during the whole movie that he starred in. Both of the characters’ emotionless, powerful and almost non human qualities seem to meet very well the movie going publics’ expectations of the Russians – personally I’ve yet to meet anyone from behind the iron curtain even closely resembling either one.
At the top of his career in 1988 Schwarzenegger could very well pick the movies he wanted to be in, and in that light Red Heat is a somewhat weird choice since the wooden acting style is a step back from his earlier movies towards, on par what’s seen in 1984 Terminator. The character Schwarzenegger plays is also atypical for him as it has many comical sidekick qualities to it and keeps on making one bad decision after another throughout the movie, getting beaten up, shot and getting multiple people killed along the way.
Guess the Hollywood wasn’t ready to for an actual Russian hero just quite yet.
The fish out of water backstory provides a good base to this action comedy but if this wasn’t a Schwarzenegger movie, Red Heat would be average at best.