Red Heat (1988)

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Released 8-Jun-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 100:08
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (49:00) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Walter Hill

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
James Belushi
Peter Boyle
Ed O'Ross
Laurence Fishburne
Gina Gershon
Richard Bright
J.W. Smith
Brent Jennings
Gretchen Palmer
Pruitt Taylor Vince
Michael G. Hagerty
Brion James
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music James Horner

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I remember seeing this film when it first came out, and thinking it was pretty cool. Time has passed, I am no longer 20 (which is a d*** shame) and this film is really not all that cool.

    Red Heat is one of the late 1980s Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicles, as he was turning from a quite successful action star into a fully fledged Hollywood superstar. He had already been Terminator, Predator and Commando but his biggest films like Twins, Terminator 2, Total Recall & Last Action Hero were still to come. This film fits better into his earlier rather than his later work. This is a fairly standard mismatched partner cop film, with plenty of violence and a dash of humour, but nothing really ground-breaking. Arnie stars as Capt Ivan Danko of the Russian Police, who is sent to Chicago to transport a wanted criminal, Viktor Rostavili (Ed O'Ross) back to Russia. As we find out early in the film, Capt Danko has some personal issues to resolve with this particular criminal. Once he arrives in Chicago, Capt Danko is partnered with Det Sgt Art Ridzik (James Belushi) and together they must track down Viktor. Other important characters include Commander Donnelly (Peter Boyle, now much better known as Frank Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond), Lt Charlie Stobbs (Larry Fishburne) and Cat Manzetti (Gina Gershon), an associate of Viktor's.

    There is some good interplay between Danko and Ridzik mostly involving not understanding each other's idiosyncrasies, but there have certainly been better mismatched partner pairings in the history of cinema. The rest of the cast do their jobs but they really don't have much to work with as the plot is fairly thin and contains little in the way of twists or suspense. Despite this, the film was quite successful on initial release being the #31 box office hit of the year 1988 in the United States. Obviously, this film was made before the fall of the Berlin Wall so the politics had more relevance at the time.

    Overall, this is not the best Arnold Schwarzenegger film, but if you are a fan you will enjoy it.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The video quality is reasonable but could be better.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp, however, some scenes were quite fuzzy especially in the background or in longer shots. There was also grain from time to time, which got quite bad during the shoot-out at 33:30.Shadow detail was average with night scenes showing some details.

    The colour was not too bad however it was just a touch washed out and the skin colouring seemed a bit pale to me. This film has a fairly grimy colour scheme in general terms. I also noticed some minor chroma noise on a green wall at 26:30.

    There were quite a few white specks on and off throughout the film, noticeable when you are looking for them, but not too bad overall. One of the most noticeable was early in the film at 1:50. There was also an occasional white line running from the top of the screen part way down. These were quite thin and went away quickly , however they were noticeable. I also noticed some moire at 93:20.

    There is a significant problem with the subtitles. The film has automatic English subtitles as significant amounts of dialogue is in Russian. These subtitles are not very good at all. It seems to me that most longer lines were significantly truncated so that you were only getting part of the line being spoken by the actors. Quite often you would get the first part of a sentence and then the subtitles would re-commence with the start of the next sentence. I am guessing, but it looks to me like the disc may only be showing one line of an intended two line subtitle stream. This makes it very difficult to follow the Russian scenes. Also at 65:50 a completely superfluous subtitle appears when no-one is actually speaking Russian and it does not match any of the English dialogue either. The disc also contains Dutch and Portuguese subtitles but I cannot comment upon whether they are so afflicted as I do not understand these languages.

    This is a dual layered disc and the layer change is well placed and not terribly distracting at 49:00. It falls at the end of a scene.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is again reasonable but not great. Strangely the music used on the menu sounded better than the film itself.

    This DVD contains only one audio option: an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s. Despite the encoding this sounds more like a 3.1 soundtrack as the surrounds are virtually not used. Overall, the soundtrack sounds a bit thin, although to be reasonable the source was recorded in stereo, so you cannot expect too much.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand, however, the actor playing Viktor was quite difficult to understand at times.    

    There were no problems with audio sync.    

    The score of this film by James Horner is quite good and suits the film well.

    The surround speakers were pretty much not used at all and the subwoofer was used occasionally.


Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu included a scene selection function but precious little else.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    This is a difficult comparison, as based upon three different reviews I have read of the Region 1 disc the transfer on that disc is better than this one despite not being 16x9 enhanced. On the basis of those reviews I would probably recommend the Region 1 disc. Interestingly, reviews of the Region 2 PAL release that I can find indicate similar problems to those I have mentioned here. Edited 15/9/04 A new Region 1 Special Edition is being released this month, which would seem to be a vast improvment on previous releases. It included a remastered video transfer, a number of documentaries, trailers & Tv Spots. This is now the version of choice.


    This disc contains an Arnold Schwarzenegger film from the late 1980s which is not one of his best.

    The video quality is reasonable despite a significant problem with the subtitles.

    The audio quality is reasonable.

    The disc has no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews
AllZone4DVD - DonovanS

Comments (Add)
Region 2 subtitling worse - Anonymous
Please Read Re: Subtitles - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Subtitles - Anonymous
The Studio Canal/Universal alliance craps on us again... - UberAspie
Original R1 Artisan release - SJ2571 REPLY POSTED
re: Original R1 Artisan release - Shane A