Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. 75
    The film is punctuated by violence, a great deal of violence, although most of it is exaggerated comic-book style instead of being truly gruesome. Walking that fine line is a speciality of Hill, who once simulated the sound of a fist on a chin by making tape recordings of Ping-Pong paddles slapping leather sofas.
  2. The world of his films may be violent, but Hill's vision is a delicate, subtle one-of individuals packing away the tiny bit of meaning and emotion life has granted them, and fighting to protect it at all costs. It's not a sentiment that can survive in cartoons; that it emerges at all in Red Heat is a tribute to Hill's still great talent. [17 Jun 1988, p.A]
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Hill has gotten Schwarzenegger to give one of the best performances of his career, and Belushi too is thoroughly convincing as an action hero. RED HEAT is a welcome break from the shallow shoot-'em-ups that became the standard in the 1980s.
  4. Red Heat, a terrifically funny and always frantic flick that hides a fascinating subtext beneath its commercial veneer. Very commercial - this should be a boffo hit; and very fascinating - the premise that props up the hit speaks volumes about America in the twilight of Reagan. [17 Jun 1988, p.C1]
  5. Red Heat is directed in a fiery, muscular, pop-graphic style. And it has a James Horner score that puckishly mixes Prokofiev and rhythm and blues. But it's also a movie with a cramped interior. The action scenes seem to be squeezing out everything else, pressing the characters against the wall. [17 Jun 1988, p.1]
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Belushi mines quick charm out of his surly role. And Arnold, starched tongue in cheek, is a doll: G.I. Joe in Soviet mufti. He could beat the stuffing out of a toy Rambo. [20 June 1988, p.88]
  7. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Schwarzenegger, who when he dons a green suit is dubbed 'Gumby' by Belushi, is right on target with his characterization of the iron-willed soldier, and Belushi proves a quicksilver foil.
  8. Thanks to a fairly good script, this thriller about a Soviet cop sent to Chicago to apprehend a Soviet drug dealer is a respectable enough star vehicle.
  9. Red Heat, the new Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie, avoids most of the usual action-movie gimmicks and is better for it. It co-stars Jim Belushi and opens around town today. [17 Jun 1988, p.E1]
  10. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    There's always something touching about the diligence with which Schwarzenegger soldiers through his assignments. There's a play of intelligence and decency in his eyes that exists quite independently of his bashing. Of the Hollywood tribe of virile fists, he's the one who seems most sensitive. [17 Jun 1988, p.31]
  11. Red Heat is a topically entertaining variation on the sort of action-adventure nonsense that plays best on television. Mr. Hill's touch is heavy when he takes himself seriously. However, he has a real gift for instantly disposable fantasy.
  12. Reviewed by: Donna Britt
    Maybe it's too much to ask that rationality and surprise accompany Heat's blood, bullets and busted-up cars. Red Heat is just lukewarm. [17 Jun 1988, p.1D]
  13. 10
    Red Heat is poorly, or even indifferently, made. It's a joyless exercise, and too much angry resignation seeps in for it to be very funny or very entertaining.

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