Red Heat (1988)
When you find yourself annoyed by the opening credits, you know you're in for it... I get that they're playing up the Soviet angle and that they're very proud to be actually filming in Moscow (apparently one of the first western films to do so), but that gives an excruciatingly slow and dull start. T he pace doesn't ever really get much better until the final chase sequence. I don't need non-stop action or anything, but this felt way too much like Raw Deal for my tastes.
The opening spa fight scene was fun, albeit brief and kinda goofy. Sven sighting: Possibly another "Sven lives!" movie since, even though we could plausibly assume he dies of hypothermia after being knocked out and left naked in the snow, they don't actually show him die. So I call it his 2nd Arnold movie survival. From there, we go through a rather annoying series of standard cop movie moments and, while I normally like James Belushi, he's pretty grating and unfunny in a lot of this. Overall good supporting cast here and some good directing and cinematography, so I guess the screenplay and dialogue are mostly to blame for this being a yawner. It's a well put-together film, I just don't care. It's not quite gritty enough to be a good cop drama movie, not quite funny enough to be a buddy cop movie, and not enough action to keep the pace up.
I do have to take a moment to comment on Arnold's hair: He frequently has awesome hair in his movies and this is another excellent example. His flattop is so tall, precise, and attention-grabbing that I think it should have its own nod in the credits. It's awesome almost to the point of distracting, but for me it was one of the highlights of the film.
Unfortunately hairstyle alone isn't enough to carry this one. With most of the movie being uninspired, the only real possible salvation was going to be an excellent Arnold performance. Well, it's an excellent performance, but as with Raw Deal, we don't get quite enough Ahnold coming out. The accent is quite fun and to the western ear sounds perfectly plausible as Russian, but that alone doesn't give him character. For the first half of the movie, he's showing even less emotion than he did in Terminator. That's all well and fine and exactly in character, it's just not fun. He loosens up a little later on and you get some good eye-widening and scowling and smirking, just too little too late. Arnold does that stuff really really well and it's a critical component of making his movies fun. There are certainly plenty of muscle-shots and gunplay and general bad-assery to be had, but aside from the really fun ending chase sequence with 2 buses through downtown Chicago, there's very little that's memorable here.
Ahnold Quotient - 5
He's huge, he looms, he scowls, the accent is fun, but he doesn't do anything with any of that. With a more interesting script and allowing his character to show a little more personality, we could have had something memorable, but instead it's a toss up between this and Raw Deal for biggest waste of Ahnold potential.
Rewatchability - No thanks
Not saying I would never watch this again, but there's very little point. Which is a shame given how awesome his hair is and how fun it should have been to hear him playing a Russian, but I'd only be trying to convince myself to like it if I kept at it.