Shockingly, it's been three years since Patrick Swayze died. He was the star of the original Red Dawn, which came out in 1984 and starred every hot, young actor under the sun at the time. It was an action movie that teenagers could really rally around because it showed how much ass determined teens can kick when their hometown is invaded by blood-thirsty, Communist Russian scum. It came out at the height of the Cold War and was rather effective as a cheesy but fun American propaganda film. It was far from art but reflected the time it was made. Thank God Swayze wasn't alive to see the remake because it's so bad it makes you wish we really were invaded by Russians 28 years ago so this disaster never existed.
This film was shot several years ago and it was before several of the stars were too big to agree to be in such trash. Chris Hemsworth (Thor, The Avengers) and Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games, The Kids Are Alright) are the two big names the film hangs its hat on. They're joined by a bunch of unfamiliar faces, most notably Josh Peck who mostly does voice work, I'm guessing because he's pretty harsh to look at. The plot is exactly the same as the original accept since the Russians are no longer scary enemies of America, they had to change it to North Koreans. I'm sure they thought this would be enough updating for people to accept; and they'd be right if the North Koreans weren't so such a laughingstock that pulling off an invasion like this would be impossible.
Because the times are so different now, it makes this film utterly stupid. Not only is the idea of being invaded by another country antique but that a town could be cut off from the rest of the country with no help is completely unlikely. Everything about the film screams of cash grab instead of justfied remake. Just because we have bigger explosions and CGI now doesn't mean that you can give a film from the '80s a minor facelift and it'll be good.
It's frustrating because Red Dawn is a film that probably could have been successfully remade but everything about it would have to change. If an attack from another country were to happen now there is a much better chance that it would be some sort of cyber attack. If they were to change that aspect of it, teenagers rising up and saving the day using their technological skills is totally plausible. It's easier to accept that a 16-year-old would know how to hack a terrorist computer system than learn how to use an AK-47, let alone in any sort of skilled fashion, to take down an invading hoard in street fights. But none of that was done out of sheer laziness and the film reeks of it.
Red Dawn actually would have made a decent TV series if they did that instead mostly because it could have given the plot time to develop and unfold. For a film that tries to squeeze in as much as they can in under two hours, it's given new meaning to the word "rushed." Less than 15 minutes go by before the North Koreans have invaded and we're hiding in the woods. That means we spend zero time telling anyone's story and therefore don't care about a single one of these characters. And if you think the film starts off at a cheetah's pace, just wait till you see how quickly teens can throw together a highly skilled, well-trained insurgency with no supplies or weapons.
The actors in Red Dawn do their best with the dumpster of a script they were given and none of the blame can be put on them. This is the fault of a greedy studio, an army of hack writers and a first-time director named Dan Bradley who's previous film expierence was in stunt work. STUNT WORK, for Christ's sake! Red Dawn is such a bad movie that I could only imagine the title will describe the financial condition of the studio the morning after the film is released and nobody sees it. Preserve your childhood memories and avoid this at all costs. Red Dawn (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: F