Red Heat is a 1988 American buddy cop action film directed by Walter Hill. This film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, as Moscow narc Ivan Danko, and James Belushi, as Chicago detective Art Ridzik. Finding themselves on the same case, Danko and Ridzik work as partners to catch a cunning and deadly Soviet Georgian drug kingpin, Viktor Rostavili (Ed O'Ross), who also happens to be the killer of Danko's previous partner back in Soviet Russia.
The film was released with the tagline "Moscow's toughest detective. Chicago's craziest cop. There's only one thing more dangerous than making them mad: making them partners." It was the first American film given permission to shoot in Moscow's Red Square - however, most of the scenes set in the USSR (with the exceptions of the establishing shots under the main titles and the final lengthy shot in Red Square behind the end credits) were actually shot in Hungary. Schwarzenegger was paid a salary of $8 million for his role in the film.
Captain Ivan Danko of the Moscow Militia sets a trap for Viktor Rostavili, a Georgian drug kingpin and crime lord. The ambush severely backfires; Viktor flees theSoviet Union and comes to the USA, after gunning down several other Moscow cops, including Danko's partner.
Loudmouthed Chicago Police Department Detective-Sergeant Art Ridzik, investigates several local murders committed by Viktor's cartel. When Viktor is arrested inChicago, Danko is dispatched to escort him back to Moscow to face justice in the Soviet Union. Unexpectedly, Danko and Ridzik find themselves partnered together when Viktor escapes custody, gunning down Ridzik's partner in the process. Danko is frustrated when his lack of a diplomatic license prohibits him from carrying a weapon. He shares his candid observations with Ridzik: "This Chicago is very strange city. Your crime is organized, but your police is not."
Danko and Ridzik pursue Viktor and his henchmen around Chicago. Finally, Danko and Viktor commandeer a couple of Greyhound buses, then engage in a high-speed chase, smashing up half of Chicago in the process, with no sign of the cops...until Viktor is side-slammed by a train. He takes on Danko in a running, Texas-style shootout (Danko uses a Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum given to him by Ridzik); Viktor is gunned down. Danko returns to Moscow after exchanging wristwatches with Ridzik as an act of goodwill.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger as Capt. Ivan Danko
- James Belushi as Det. Sgt. Art Ridzik
- Ed O'Ross as Viktor "Rosta" Rostavili
- Peter Boyle as Cmdr. Lou Donnelly
- Gina Gershon as Catherine "Cat" Manzetti
- Larry Fishburne as Lt. Charlie Stobbs
- Richard Bright as Det. Sgt. Tom Gallagher
- J.W. Smith as Salim
- Brent Jennings as Abdul Elijah
- Sven-Ole Thorsen as Nikolai, the Russian Danko fights in the snow
- Gretchen Palmer as Hooker
- Pruitt Taylor Vince as Night Clerk
- Michael Hagerty as Pat Nunn
- Brion James as Streak
- Peter Jason as TV Announcer
- Oleg Vidov as Yuri Ogarkov
- Savely Kramarov as Gregor Moussorsky
- Gene Scherer as Consul Dmitri Stepanovich
- Gabor Koncz as Vagran Rostavili
- Roger Callard as Pyotr Tatamovich
- Tengiz Borisoff as Josif Baroda
Walter Hill says he conceived of the idea for Red Heat because he and Arnold Schwarzenegger had long wanted to work together:
Hill says he deliberately chose to tone down the Schwarzenegger persona, making him more realistic and less prone to wisecracks. Hill:
The music score was done by James Horner. "I told James I wanted something like you're in the Olympics and you've just won a gold medal," said Hill. "I wanted something heroic."
Hill says he wanted to use buses rather than cars in the climactic action scene because it would be more interesting. "Also, I thought it was very appropriate for Arnold. He doesn't fit well in cars."
He described the film as "in an odd way it's a traditional love story between these two guys.