Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TODAY'S NUGGET: Red Heat (1988) - A Moment When the Woman Was Essential

[Quick Summary: A Russian cop must team up with an American cop to capture a fugitive Russian cocaine lord who is loose in Chicago.]

As I read everything in my Walter Hill library, I've grown cynical when it comes to the females.

I've noticed the roles tend to be one note and disposable.*

Generally, there's only one job for women.  I wonder why they are marginalized to the edges so often.

Are they a distraction? Is a triangular conflict less intense?

I'll probably never know.

However, one section of Red Heat did surprised me because a female played a rare key role.

Danko, the unemotional Russian cop, is ambushed in his hotel room.

He survives because of unexpected gun power, i.e., the hooker down the hall has had his back.

"DANKO: Wait!

She turns, startled.

DANKO: You saved my life.
HOOKER (suspicious): Yeah?
DANKO: I just wanted to thank you.

And he lifts her, hugs her and kisses her. It is a moment of pure exultation. for the first time since Jusso's [his cop partner] death, he feels glad to be alive.

The Hooker is caught up by his infectious mood and she responds with a great peal of laughter. They have both come through a life and death situation. They have both made it."

The female is essential to the action, for once.

It might not seem like a big deal, but in a Hill script, it's huge.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: It's great to see a writer step out of the comfort zone.

Red Heat (1988)
Written by Troy Kennedy Martin & Walter Hill
Directed by Walter Hill

*Here, I exclude Alien's Riley, and refer to the other 8 Hill scripts I've read.

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