Director: Don Bradley
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas
Written by: Carl Ellsworth, Jeremy Passmore, (1984 screenplay) John Millius and Kevin Reynolds
Running Time: 93 mins
Release date: 15th March 2013
In 1984, when a group of youthful actors who the press named “The Brat Pack” were starring in every other movie, a handful, including Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen, starred in a gung-ho, flag-waving action film about the invasion of America by the Russians. The silly nonsense, called Red Dawn, became something of a cult favourite. Now almost 30 years later, someone decided that we needed a remake. So the dumbest movie of 1984 is now also the dumbest movie of 2013.
A small town in America, where ex Marine Jed Eckert has returned after serving in Iraq, soon finds his town invaded by the North Koreans. Separated from his police sergeant father and with his younger brother, high school football star, Matt and a bunch of other scared high school kids, they escape the clutches of the invaders and head to the woods, where they soon plan to take their town back by forming a small army, to take on the might of the North Korean army and calling themselves The Wolverines (after their school football team).
This is one of those films that, while you are watching it, you are constantly asking questions, which, with some films is a very good thing. Here, it’s not so. I will share some of those questions with you:
1: Why remake a movie that seriously was bad enough in the first place? I shouldn’t really say that because John Millius’s original does have some good points and it’s the kind of film you can kick back with and opening laugh at its ridiculousness. Plus, Millius’s politics, which were always slightly shaky and was notorious for sharing, were at least up on the screen for all to see. He hates Communists! Simple as! Here, the film company’s original plan was to have the Chinese as the enemy. (OK, following the communist route) but got frightened when they realised that a large potion of the audience (plus backers etc) were Chinese, so swapped them for the North Koreans (Maybe another bad idea considering the current state of play? Not saying that the North Koreans would start a war because of a film but you never know…)
2: Armed with tanks, huge weaponry and the training that the North Koreans would probably have in their army, surely they would a) be better shots (even at point blank range they only graze the hero) and b) could easily take down a bunch of kids who only picked up a gun a few days ago????
3: As Chris Hemsworth, playing the part that Patrick Swayze played in the original, is fighting the Koreans, you wonder when he is going to reach for the sky and say “By The Power of Odin!” and turn into Thor. (Ever that or do a Mumba and say he’s auditioning for the remake of Dirty Dancing).
4: Why does every character feel the need to make a five minutes speech about the importance of the fight, their love for their family or the life they left behind? We know that, it should be immediately read that they miss their past lives, their families etc. Please stop going on about it!
5: And this is the most important question…why am I still watching this pile of tripe that lacks any humour, any irony, or any sense of good acting. The script screams out every possible cliche going (Marines don’t die, they go to hell and regroup.) while stretching the realms of plausibility. During a blackout, there seems to be more light than when the lights were on? Characters says things like they are missing Call of Duty (when they are fighting a real Call of Duty) and hot girls (when Adiranne Palicki, who played Wonder Woman in the ill-fated, never seen TV pilot, is sitting in the same room!)
The action scenes are well handled but you wouldn’t have expected anything else when the director, Don Bradley, is a stunt co-ordinator. His handling of the actors , script and everything else, though, leaves a lot to be desired.
The film bombed in America and has taken forever to get over here. Maybe it should have stayed away. Can’t see it doing anything over here either…or anywhere else for that matter. Apart from in North Korea, who might see the funny side. I’m guessing not, though.