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Red Heat (4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray Review)

If it wasn’t for Studio Canal restoring and releasing catalog titles on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray overseas in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, I don’t know if Lionsgate would have much interest in doing it at all. They are getting some solid free ports over here with the likes of Rambo, the upcoming Universal Soldier and this one in the review here, Red Heat. One of the film’s on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s climb to massive superstardom, its notable paired him with director Walter Hill and tried to buddy cop him with James Belushi.  The release comes with all the special features that were on the Studio Canal release overseas and the Lionsgate standard Blu-ray that was originally out here in the United States. For those interested in the film (Or us Schwarzenegger collectors), the film will be available for purchase on October 29th. But, you can pre-order now, and using the the Amazon link below will lock it up for you and have it there by release day (And also helps me out, as I earn from being an Associate as I’m now supposed to tell you every time I post that link. FUN!).

Film 

Ivan Danko (Arnold Schwarzengger) is a Russian cop sent to Chicago to extradite a Russian drug-dealer named Viktor Rostavili (Ed O’Ross), wanted for murder back in the USSR. When Danko and his prisoner are ambushed by Viktor’s gangland friends the Russian escapes, and a veteran police officer is killed. His partner, Ridzik (James Belushi), who like Danko now has a personal vendetta against Rostavili, joins forces with the soviet cop to hunt down the escapee and his gunmen.

In 1982, director Walter Hill broke out in a big way with the film 48 Hrs. A film that laid the groundwork for the buddy cop action movie. You know, the blueprint for which Lethal Weapon would become an smashing success off of. Also in 1982, Arnold Schwarzenegger launched onto the scene with Conan the Barbarian. A movie that the Italians and B-movie producers would knock off countless times in the decade. That very same year, James Belushi guest on Laverne and Shirley (Okay, I won’t clown too hard, dude was in Michael Mann’s Thief the year before and its fricking amazing, god watch it NOW).

With Red Heat, its quite obvious that Walter Hill is trying to shoot for doing 48 hours again, to lesser success. In fact, this one actually has the kind of buddy cop hook that Rush Hour would make much better on at the end of the next decade. Its also telling that just a year later, Hill would just go on and make a 48 Hrs sequel (Another 48 Hrs.) as he it probably was what he wanted to do anyway. But, lets not dismiss that its cool as hell that Walter Hill and Arnold Schwarzenegger collaborated for a film even if it is a lesser effort for both of them, tho the movie suffers from just being merely “fine” which shouldn’t be a harsh crime.

The film features a lot of the hallmarks of what you want from a Walter Hill film, but something about the whole thing just really never comes together and gels. This movie is loaded with fist fights, shootouts and chases (Including a finale that includes a Greyhound bus chase). There is some snappy dialogue and comedic lines and moments. However, some of it winds up rote with the action and Schwarzenegger and Belushi never really show much in the way of chemistry. In fact Schwarzenegger outshines Belushi like crazy. He’s actually pretty good with very little, showing use of his face to convey a lot of his stuff in this movie.

At the end of the day, Red Heat is pretty harmless. Its not bad and you can have yourself some fun and a good time watching it. But, you ultimately can do a lot better. Schwarzenegger has many in this period that make Red Heat pale in comparison and nobody is holding this one up as one of Hill’s classics or an underseen gem of his. Ultimately, Red Heat winds up a solid one time watch or that of a nice rental or movie wedged into the middle of some sort of marathon viewing.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC/ H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Red Heat arrives on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray as obviously a native 4K transfer being that is was shot on film and all. The image is easily head and shoulders above the original Blu-ray release, that is for sure. However, the film itself has a look that doesn’t lend itself to looking any sort of pretty at all. The image is naturally full of smoke, fog, steam and the like pretty much all throughout. When the hazing does clear, it showcases quite a sharp and rich image. Regardless, the film does have a nice, deeper look to it, with a good amount of details constantly on display.

Depth: Sold foreground and background natural distancing on display in the film. Movements, camera swoops and the like have confidence and are smooth with no motion distortion issues about.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and pretty rich. Grain appears a little heavier in the darker areas of the image. No crushing witnessed during this viewing.

Color Reproduction: This is a more natural looking picture but the colors are well saturated and things do pop out like the red letting of the opening titles, orange fire and flashier looking clothing fabrics.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural, a little warmer and consistent throughout the entirety of the film. Facial features and textures like wrinkles, make-up, lip texture, cuts, scrapes and sweat beads all come through quite clear from any given distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Latin American Spanish Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Latin American Spanish

Dynamics: Red Heat arrives on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with the same 5.1 track that’s been with it for years. It features a take on the original mix with no revisionist history effects thrown in. So, much of this doesn’t pack the punch it might’ve, but honestly its packs enough. The mix is set pretty loud and its pretty crisp and effective.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Gunshots, punches, explosions and crashing cars all drive the subwoofer to some of its more powerful moments.

Surround Sound Presentation: The mix hangs out up front a lot but has an admirable effort to make sure the rear channels either add to ambiance or help with the travel of something notable onscreen.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras 

Red Heat comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a digital copy code for the film.

Arnold Schwarzenegger – The Man Who Raised Hollywood (SD, 15:36)

Political Context of Red Heat (HD, 9:54)

East Meets West (SD, 9:38)

A Stunt Man for All Seasons (SD, 12:24)

I’m Not Russian, But I Play One on TV (SD, 5:11)

Making Of (SD, 18:35)

Original Trailer (SD, 2:13)

Summary 

Red Heat is pretty much just a really solid bag of action movie potato chips to scarf down when hungry for a snack and in a hurry and don’t need to spend a fortune. Its all right and enjoyable enough is what I mean. Lionsgate’s 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release features nothing new in the extras department and finds itself with a pretty good presentation in its new 4K transfer. At the right kind of bargain bin price, this is a nice pick up.

Paid Link.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Screen captures used in this review are not my own and have been taken from Caps-a-holic.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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