Red Dawn remake is as needless a reboot as Hollywood can offer. It’s got the fingerprints of contemporary action filmmaking -- shaky camerawork and lousily written characters. While John Milius’ seminal ’80s movie played upon Cold War fears throughout the country, this modern-day update stretches to suppose that North Korea has the ability to invade the U.S. While audiences felt each character’s death in the original film, this new entry fills the screen with innocuous actors who are nothing but fodder for the front lines. Just when you wonder what the kids’ names are, a few of them are killed off, leaving fewer young actors you have to endure.
Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, heads up the battalion of rebellious kids as Jed, a military veteran who heads home and encounters his disrespectful younger brother (the insufferable Josh Peck) and a law-enforcement father who’s gone more than he’s around. On the night of Jed’s return, the power goes out across the city, leading to a full-fledged invasion the next day. As paratroopers glide down to the streets, the two brothers meet up with their friends and hightail it to a cabin, where they pick up ammo and even more characters for the viewer to be confused by. From there, the group band together under Jed’s tutelage and take on the name of their town’s football team, the Wolverines, and then begin striking back against the opposing force. At some point Jeffrey Dean Morgan shows up with some marine buddies who spout jerky military smackdowns at the teens (in one of the movie’s only so-bad-it’s-good moments).
It’s hard to say what viewers who haven’t seen the original will think of the remake. One thing is for sure -- the ground rules for the city they live in aren’t very well established. One scene the Wolverines are in the woods, the next they’re in high-rises shooting missile launchers, then they’re in the woods again, then they’re jumping out of ditches right next to North Korean checkpoints…it’s all very confusing. For all the predictability, the film does have one surprise to it, but it’s so far gone from being entertaining at that point that it loses any impact it might have had. The movie sat on a shelf for years while MGM went through bankruptcy -- and during that time, the invading country was changed from China to North Korea in post-production. Either way, John Milius said it best when he remarked that remaking the original film was simply “a stupid thing to do.” Turns out he was right. leave a comment --Jeremy Wheeler