Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 30th, 2014
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1983 (Running Hot), New Zealand | UK, 1985 (Hot Target)
Directors: Mark Griffiths (Running Hot), Dennis C. Lewiston (Hot Target)
Writers: Mark Griffiths (Running Hot), Dennis C. Lewiston, Gerry O’Hara (Hot Target)
Cast: Monica Carrico, Eric Stoltz, Stuart Margolin, Virgil Frye, Sorrells Pickard (Running Hot), Simone Griffeth, Steve Marachuk, Bryan Marshall, Peter McCauley, Elizabeth Hawthorne, Ray Henwood (Hot Target)
DVD released: January 28th, 2014
Approximate running times: 89 minutes (Running Hot), 91 minutes (Hot Target)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (Both Films)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English (Both Films)
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $16.95
Running Hot: A prostitute falls in love with a teenager who has been convicted of murdering his father.
For this DVD release the film’s uses the alternate title card Running Hot. This film’s has been released under several titles including Running Hot, Highway to Hell, Makin’ It and On the Run. Running Hot was written and directed by Mark Griffiths who most famous film to date is the raunchy 1980’s sex comedy Hardbodies. The score for Running Hot was composed by Al Capps whose other notable scores include Sasquatch, the Legend of Bigfoot, Stroker Ace, The Cannonball Run and Cannonball Run II. Other notable crew members on Running Hot include cinematographer Tom Richmond who extensive filmography includes Hardbodies, I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka, A Midnight Clear, Killing Zoe and House of 1000 Corpses.
The plot for Running Hot revolves around two characters Danny Hicks a teenager who has been convicted of killing his father and a prostitute named Charlene Andrews who has been following his trial obsessively. The story first major twist occurs when Charlene helps Danny after he escapes from police custody. They quickly forge a bound as they try to stay one step ahead of the law. Also the film’s two lead character’s Danny and Charlene are mirror images of each other as they both come from similar dysfunctional homes. Their relationship is doomed to fail and everywhere they go trouble seems to find them. The plot is perfectly paced, as no scene feels dragged out or unnecessary.
Visually the film does a superb job capturing the grittiness of its rural locations. A few standout moments include the two scenes with Virgil Frye who plays a pimp who parades around in his Speedo and robe, and a flashback sequence that shows what happened the night Danny’s father was murdered. The most recognizable named in the cast is Eric Stoltz (Some Kind of Wonderful, Pulp Fiction, Killing Zoe) in his first leading role in a feature film. Stoltz gives a sympathetic and engaging performance as the troubled teen Danny Hicks. Other notable cast members include Stuart Margolin (“The Rockford Files”) and Sorrells Pickard (Hardbodies, Hardbodies 2). Ultimately Running Hot is a well made crime drama about a doomed love affair.
Hot Target: A conman starts a torrid affair with a wealthy businessman’s wife that puts both of their lives in danger.
Content wise Hot target is just like every other erotic thriller you have ever had the pleasure to watch on channels on Cinemax. The plot, just like the clothing is barley there. The exposition scenes are for the most part painful exercise in not how to act and everything in these productions are put into their sex scenes. In other words Hot Target retreads well worn ground and anything remotely original in this film is far and few in between.
From the get go pacing is an issue as things crawl along as a snail’s pace. The performances in this film are on par with what one would expect from a soap opera. At least this film does one thing right. It provides some eye candy via its leading lady Simone Griffeth (Death Race 2000) in the role of the horny housewife named Christine Webber. Without a doubt the hardest performance come to terms with is Steve Marachuk in the role of Christine’s seducer. Just when you think he is ready to deliver is ‘A’ game he quickly retreats into sub-par acting that makes his character all the more unbelievable. Ultimately Hot Target is a mediocre erotic thriller that feels all to familiar.
Both films are presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. For this release both films have been given brand new HD transfers. Quality wise Running Hot’s new transfer is noticeable improvement over the transfer Code Red used for their DVD release. Where Hot Target is not in as good of shape, the image looks at times, black levels are at best average and there are some issues with compression. With that being said, colors and flesh tones do look accurate.
Outside of some very minor instances of hiss both films audio mixes sounds clear and balanced throughout.
Extras for this release include a trailer for Running Hot, Stripped to Kill, Firepower, Force Five, Night of the Cobra Woman, Paper Tiger and The Octagon. Other extras include segments with Katarina Leigh Waters which bookend the film. Rounding out the extras is an option to listen to the film’s score Hot Target. As mentioned before Running Hot had previously been released Code Red who gave it a fully loaded DVD release. The only extra carried over from that release is the film’s trailer.
Overall Scorpion Releasing launches it Dangerous Beauties line with an odd pairing of films and though it is great to see Running Hot readily available again, it is this release second film Hot Target that make this release a tough sale.