Douglas Rawthorne (James Manzo) and John McHeat (Michael Rasulo) are undercover detectives. Doug is the tough, anti-authoritarian who still manages to focus on his duty, and John is his equally tough partner, though hairier and more rough-around-the-edges. As the first episode of the web series Raw Heat opens, John is making one of the worst decisions he can make while on a stakeout: buying a large order of street stand tacos.
As the duo spies on the criminals of the hour, John’s stomach begins to act up. At first it’s just disruptive to John’s focus, but eventually that “I just ate something that didn’t agree with me” scent sneaks out into the air, effectively blowing the cops’ cover, forcing them to engage the baddies before they can escape.
The premise may be something we’ve seen before, but the first episode of Raw Heat is not without its unique moments. When the shit hits the fan (or, more accurately, when the smell hits the bad guys’ noses), Doug comes up with the best idea he can to disrupt his foes: he climbs into a trashcan, slumps down and tells John to toss the can at the bad guys. The result is a dirty, grindhouse-style buddy cop “Fastball Special” (x-Men geeks would understand).
And when I say grindhouse-style, I mean everything about the episode seems to have a grime about it. I know you can’t actually smell the setting through the TV screen, but it still seems to ooze out. The look is just so… sweaty and gross. But, you know, in a good way… if that makes sense.
While the basic idea behind the show, a throwback, ’70s-looking web series about two loose cannon cops, is not all that original, Raw Heat keeps the adventure appropriately dirty, low brow and fun. It would be easy to go the spoof route and make things really caricaturish, but the filmmakers go for “respectful” of the overall vibe rather than using it for simple gags (shit joke aside). Because of that, it kept my interest to the point where I would watch more episodes, even if it’s just to find out whether John ever makes a good food decision.
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