Many of you heard of the movie "Red Heat" with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a star. Russian distributors translated the word "heat" into Russian in its main meaning, i.e. hotness, warmth. Along with that some dictionaries say that one of the meanings of heat is police, so the most appropriate name of the movie in Russian could be "Red Cop". This point of view is controversial according to discussion on Russian Wikipedia. I would like to know opinions of native speakers.

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    I've never watched the movie, but "heat" is slag for "police" in American English. "heat" can also refer to a situation where things get a bit intense. For example: "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen". – Michael Rybkin Nov 13 '17 at 10:11
  • We can only tell you the possible literal meanings of the words. Anything beyond that is lit-crit in miniature, and off-topic. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 13 '17 at 12:26

The title is a play on words.

"Red hot" refers to iron or steel that has been heated until it glows red. Metaphorically, it has been used as a superlative, e.g. "the last of the red hot lovers." In that metaphorical sense, "red hot" means "very exciting."

The primary meaning of "heat" is degree of hotness or warmth. It is also an American slang term for the police.

The primary meaning of "red" is a color, but it can also mean "communist" as either a noun or adjective.

Because the movie is about a Russian policeman while the Soviet Union still existed, the primary but allusive meaning of the title is "Soviet Police," but because of its closeness in sound to "Red Hot, it also suggests "Very Exciting." I know no Russian, but I suspect that kind of multiple meaning is untranslatable.

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Red = Russian/Communist. Heat = Police/Pressure.

Red Heat = A police movie involving Russians.

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  • For bonus points, please describe why Blue Crush has to do with surfing. Blue = Ocean/Sea Crush=surf board wipeout. Blue Crush = Movie about surfing on the ocean, possibly involving a serious wipeout. – EllieK Nov 13 '17 at 20:24

When a substance is heated it can reach a state in which it glows red. This is called "heating the substance to a red heat".

That is the literal meaning of the phrase.

We can also exaggerate and say that something is red hot, even though it is not literally glowing red:

Careful, those muffins are right out of the oven. They're red hot.

And it can be used to mean "on one's game, performing with great skill or great luck":

I've won six straight poker hands. I'm red hot tonight.

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  • I think "Red Heat" is actually a welding term. "Red Hot" -- commonly used to describe something very hot. "Red Heat" -- If you're not holding a welding torch, you're probably not going to hear or use the term "Red Heat". – EllieK Nov 13 '17 at 13:59
  • "red heat" is indeed a term used by welders. I've taken a welding course and do some welding now and then :) But it is not only a welding term, as the link above will show. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 13 '17 at 14:59
  • The link above returns a bunch of welding sites. I think it's almost entirely a welding/technical term, not used in general conversation, and without cultural references. When you say, "red heat," someone, in their mind, must convert it to, "red hot." Sentences like, "The red heat really got to me," will not be understood. Red Heat does not mean Red Hot. – EllieK Nov 13 '17 at 16:50
  • EllieK: You're not a very careful or thorough reader. "several large stones are heated to a red heat". We don't weld stones. And I never said "Red Heat" means "red hot". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 13 '17 at 17:30

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