Of all the films I wish were better, Red Heat has to be in the top ten. It seems impossible that a 1988 movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and directed by Walter Hill would be bad, but somehow this movie managed it. I’ve given it a couple chances, and it just never comes together for me.
But it certainly starts off on the right foot! Arnold and some other huge guy engage in a brutal fight that begins in a steamy bathhouse only to spill out into a frozen snowy wasteland. These guys are still more or less naked yet still beat the hell from each other like it's no big deal. Now that’s how you sell some badassery. It is also, for someone who hates being cold, a bit of a nightmare sequence. Even though I don’t like the film all that much, this is still a classic Arnold scene.
If only the rest of the movie were this good. You can see Red Heat's shortcomings even in this trailer. It’s all lame jokes, kind of flavorless action, and extremely wooden Schwarzenegger line readings. This is supposed to be a look at the film at its most enticing, and I still can’t get excited by it.
Am I alone in this? Is Red Heat a quiet Arnold favorite I didn’t know about? I might listen to a case for Raw Deal, but it’s going to be hard to convince me that this one is worth another revisit.