Hi, Bryan Here….
I admit, I was a bit apprehensive heading into watching this remake of the 1984 action film that starred Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Harry Dean Stanton, and Jennifer Grey. The 80’s film was a big hit and is still good today. John Milius ,the director of the original film, made an imprint on the minds of the youth back then with a ‘what if’ scenario and a heck of a fun film. This remake, while it is certainly very cheesy and awkwardly bad in tiny moments, the overall picture is a fine and worth-while remake despite its many faults.
You most likely know the gist of the story. The USA is invaded by another country and is taken over, this time by the Koreans and Russians, rather than the Cubans and Russians from the original film. It is up to a group of teenagers, who manage to escape the occupation to form a brutal guerrilla team to fight the threat and take back their country. The story is the same from the original with a few tweaks and twists here and there.
The film starts out with news clips featuring President Obama and a few other top politicians emphasizing the real threat of cyber-terrorism. We meet a few characters during and after a high school football game, and 10 minutes into the film is when the action kicks into high gear and never stops. The small town in the Pacific Northwest is suddenly invaded by Korean war jets, and Korean soldiers parachuting from the sky. They immediately start killing people and taking others prisoner.
The few teenagers who escape to the rural outskirts of town are led by Iraq war vet Jed (Chris Hemsworth). He leads his little brother Matt (Josh Peck), the high school quarterback, Toni (Adrianne Palicki), Jed’s main squeeze, Robert (Josh Hutcherson), who is good with electronics, Daryl (Connor Cruise), the mayor’s son, and Erica (Isabel Lucas), a cheerleader and Matt’s girlfriend. The are trained by Jed to fight their ruthless invaders by any means necessary and refer to themselves as the Wolverines after their high-school mascot.
How is this all possible, I hear some of you asking. Well the Koreans with the help of the Russians deployed a certain kind of bomb or cyber attack that disabled and destroyed all forms of communication and electronics in the U.S., so nobody knew this was coming and everyone was in the dark as it was happening, leaving the US citizens helpless.
Later on in the film, the Wolverines come across a group of highly trained marines led by Col. Andy Tanner (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who are actually looking for the Wolverines for help, since the tales and accomplishments of these ragtag group of teens have reached all across the nation in an effort to fight back. The two groups form together a plan to take out the leader, Captain Cho (Will Yun Lee) of the Pacific Northwest region and gain access to their computer to disrupt the signal that’s keeping all the intruders in communication.
The only decent actor in this film unfortunately is Chris Hemsworth. He actually filmed this before he filmed ‘Thor’, which now you know, has been on a hold shelf for quite a while now. Hemsworth just owns this role and is a natural born leader on film. And he is the only one believable in the role in this type of situation. Now while the other actors might be good, they definitely do not fit in their roles as ruthless guerrilla type warriors. It’s laughable almost. And I know the point is to show a group of regular teenagers buck up and become these epic fighters, but nobody was buying it.
The action sequences are top notch though. For being PG-13, this was a pretty ruthless and hardcore film. Trivia Fact: The original ‘Red Dawn’ was the first film to get a PG-13 rating ever. The action never stops and that is what kept this movie entertaining, which is good, because a lot of the dialogue was very sloppy and down right laughable, brining you out of the tense situations.
Even with that, I still think this remake is a solid film. The visuals of the attacks are phenomenal and there are enough twists and turns to make this version stand out on its own from the original. Yes, a lot of the actors do not fit their roles besides Hemsworth, but if you can get past that, ‘Red Dawn’ will be the film you want it to be. If you are looking for a good time at the movies, check this one out.
The original ‘Red Dawn’ on blu-ray