Red Dawn Reviews
deserving or inviting derision or mockery; absurd. ie. Red Dawn
Red Dawn was a movie thrown together to make a little bit of money. It is nothing special. The action is fairly good and acting isn't bad, but the movie was already out of my mind before I walked out of the theatre. The story was nothing new and exciting and the movie just wasn't very good. The ending was abrupt and left me feeling like it was the least important part of the movie. Overall a decent action flick, but mainly a cash grab.
How far would you go to protect you and yours from an occupying army? Would you roll over in fear or fight back with a vengeance?
John Milius' fondly remembered 1984 cult classic centered on a scared yet heroic ragtag group of teenage guerrillas fighting Soviet-Cuban allegiance invaders in backwater USA. Reworked by first time Director Dan Bradley for a post-9/11 world, 2009's Red Dawn (delayed three years by MGM's bankruptcy and intervening national sensibilities) lacks the timely topical intensity and visceral justification of its predecessor.
When writing a remake review it is hard to resist harping back to the original, and for once I refuse to resist. The storyline is so simple detail is not necessary, but to understand the complete failure that is the remake, you must compare and contrast against the original.
As a student of history and military tactics, Milius' original (which was Guinness book of records holder for most acts of violence of any film up to that time) was a throwback to the cold war. With a genuinely propulsive sense of danger and urgency it resonated with young viewers as a case of do-or-die fight for love and country without any outside help or fromal training. Ex-Stuntman Bradley's remake employs ham-fisted plot modernizations and kinetic editing of incoherent visuals in an attempt to capture the same energy.
Not helping the situation is the hasty illogical post-production substitution from Chinese to North Korean aggressors (with Russian backup). In an attempt not to offend China's highly lucrative film market, details were digitally altered to the improbable invaders, giving skeptical viewers time to pick holes in the already thin plot and to ponder exactly how a country of only 25 million could overrun so many American cities that a small town football team could become a resistance issue.
Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen (in his film debut) were the original half-wild Ekert brothers, country boys in over their heads but looked on as leaders fought for no other reason that it was the right thing to do.
Chris Hemsworth and Josh Peck now take up the roles, the older Jed is an Iraq war vet while the younger Matt is an impetuous quarterback. Under threated in their own front yard by a parachuting army, they flee to the woods with team mates Daryl (Connor Cruise, also in his debut) and Robert (Josh Hutcherson) and a few others. The plucky rebel group decides to fight back for what is theirs no holds barred 'call of duty' style.
The verdict: Sadly this is yet another remake that falls short to the extreme disappointment of nostalgic fans. Although with the delay, there is now some market value in its ticketed names, the subject matter will not directly appeal to the obvious target audience.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 07/12/2012
On one early morning, two brothers awake to find that their home state is being invaded by a foreign army. In a rush, they pick up a few stragglers and escape down into the woods. As time passes, they realize that they're the only ones here who can fight back and this group of teenagers jump start a rebellion against their captors in order to take back their freedom.
Let me just address the fact that this movie is downright awful. It's not even funny bad, it's just bad. Nothing in this movie is quality, and the only stand out (the action) isn't very logical or mind blowing. The screenplay is poorly written and not one aspect really works. However, there's something about this movie that I just can't place my finger on, and for some odd reason, this is one of my guilty pleasure movies. Somehow, someway, I find plenty of fun in this movie, and I've watched it multiple times by now. In fact, I like it so much that I own it on Blu-Ray. This is one of those opinions that I get a lot of hate on, and although I can't really justify my preference, I'm here to tell you why this movie's enjoyable, despite the fact that it is in fact, awful.
Let's start out with the pacing. The only thing I liked about the pacing was the fact that they basically jumped right into the action, because considering this is my guilty pleasure film, it makes it easier to watch it repeatedly. However, the lack of character development is absurd, and the pacing is awful. The movie moves at such a rapid pace to the point that you don't know a single character's name, and everything gets lost in the mess that is this film.
Although I like the actors here, they aren't really that good. This is one of those situations where obvious 20 and 30 year olds are playing high school students, and they have the looks and the acting chops of porn stars. Chris Hemsworth is actually a good actor in general and he's functional enough here. I've always been content with Josh Peck (looking back at "Drake and Josh"), and again, he's functional enough in his role. When I say functional, it means that they filled the requirements for their respective roles, but they're not going to garner much praise or anything. I'm also a Josh Hutcherson fan and I actually think he's a great, up and coming actor, but the rest of the cast was forgettable in many ways.
The screenplay was absurdly bad. Nothing made sense and again, the writers practically refused to put any effort in their writing. They fell into that hole where they didn't know how to advance the plot, so they needed the characters to blatantly state an important fact or some irrelevant event to occur. The dialogue was almost laughable at times, but it was bad to the point where you groaned out loud.
The action, albeit entertaining, is more of illogical eye candy more than anything. Although it's entertaining to watch, it feels like an unrealistic video game that certainly makes no sense. The amount of combat progress these kids made in a short amount of time is not realistic, and the overall fact that they were able to cause this much damage was absurd, however, if you're looking for some mindless action, this isn't a bad choice. The action was so mindless to the point where characters are dropping left and right, but due to lack of character development, you have no idea who just died.
The overall premise is actually an interesting one, despite poor execution. If you really think about how cool this actually is, it makes the movie a bit more bearable. These kids suddenly find themselves rebelling against an entire army, and it's up to them to fight for their freedom. It feels like a video game in some ways, and hearing the chants of "Wolverine, Wolverine, Wolverines!!!" will always send chills down my spine.
Like I said, I realize that this movie is downright awful. There really are no redeeming qualities here, and pretty much everything they tried to do failed miserably. However, I still can't place my finger on why I enjoy this movie so much. I can't tell if it's the basic premise, the over exaggerated action, the decent names, the bad ass heroes, or the mindless fun, but I personally find a lot of enjoyment here.
In the end, this movie is terrible. In reality, it's probably a one star movie. However, against my better judgement, the amount of fun I garnered from this movie makes this movie fresh for me, and the amount of times I've re watched this movie just solidifies the fact that it's my guilty pleasure.
What I do have to absolutely agree with is Josh Peck's character and acting (I didn't buy it at all) - Josh Hutcherson would have been a much better cast and also looks a lot more like Chris Hemsworth than Peck does. There were a few scenes between the brothers that I thought were going to show the same chemistry as the original actors, but the director and actors (Peck) definitely disappointed.
Overall, it's not as bad of a movie as everyone says, there are definitely holes in the plot, but go into it with an open mind and you might enjoy it like I did.