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Red Dawn

Red Dawn

In Theatres: 
Nov 21, 2012
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 33 Minutes

While not a critically acclaimed film, 1984’s Red Dawn has gained somewhat of a cult following over the years. Anyone who’s even remotely familiar with the film knows of its signature Wolverines! battlecry, which has been made appearances in television and in videogames. After being shelved for two years, a Red Dawn remake is finally ready to hit theaters.

The main plot follows the same storyline as the original but has been updated to reflect today’s growing global tensions. Rather than the Russians invading the United States, it’s the North Koreans, although they’re given a little help by said Russians later in the film. Whoever the invading army is though, it’s the high school Wolverines who rise up and take back their homes. Unfortunately, the manner in which they do so is completely ridiculous and laughable.

Matt Eckert (Josh Peck) is your typical high school jock. You’d think that as the football team’s star quarterback he’d have some leadership experience but no, that job is left to his older brother and Marine Jed (Chris Hemsworth). Jed leads Matt and a group of his friends against the invading North Koreans and somehow manage to disable the entire military force almost singlehandedly.

There isn’t much great source material to draw from to begin with so Red Dawn has to make due with a drawn out story that doesn’t go far and fizzles out before its even began. The North Korean forces are seen as incompetent soldiers who can’t do anything right, despite organizing a successful invasion of the United States. Once in the U.S. though, their skills just seem to fall apart. They’re easily taken down by these untrained high school students with little to no effort. Sure, it’s great to be able to chant “USA!” throughout the film but it makes for a horrible plot.

The acting of almost everyone is dismal as well. Josh Peck was the most disappointing of the crowd with a deadpan look throughout the film. He shows little emotion and when he does, he goes overboard with it. He’s not alone either as Josh Hutcherson, Conner Cruise, and Adrianne Palicki don’t deliver any memorable performances. As for Chris Hemsworth, he simply does the best he can with the material he’s given.

It all really doesn’t matter too much as the camera work is all over the place. It’s understandable that there’s going to be some shaking with the camera to give the impression of being in a warzone but it shouldn’t get to the point of not being able to understand what’s going on in a scene. If you’re only in it for the action and explosions, there are plenty of those but they’re hard to enjoy with the shoddy camerawork.

Red Dawn didn’t have much going for it to begin with but while the original was a box office hit, the remake looks destined to crash and burn. It misfires on so many cylinders that it’s difficult to find anything good about the film. With a plethora of films hitting the theaters this Thanksgiving, at least there are other options out there. 

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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