Movie Review: Red Dawn

Red Dawn is a remake of the 1984 action film Red Dawn. It features high schoolers fighting back against invaders, in the remake North Koreans, in their hometown of Spokane, Washington.

There are a lot of issues with this film but the most glaring is that none of the characters have an arc. The worst offender is Matt Eckert (played by Josh Peck). Throughout much of the film Matt Eckert is so focused on getting his girlfriend back that he puts the entire group in deadly danger. But instead of redeeming himself and not quite being such a selfish person, he gets someone else in yet another dangerous situation. Oh don’t worry. Peace signs fix everything.

There are a lot of explosions in this. It’s to be expected with such a big undertaking this film is. It got approximately 40 million in tax rebates as it filmed in Michigan for its estimated 80 million budget. It’s also a big undertaking since an entire country is getting invaded and all. Explosions usually happen with a lot of space, out in a big field, or other remote location, but this film felt very restricted. There seemed to be only 3 or 4 locations in this film: 2 office buildings, a forest, a cabin, and a military checkpoint. For all the talk of a ‘Free America,’ most of the action took place indoors and behind cover. That wouldn’t have been so bad if the film’s perspective was not so restricted on the group’s little issues. An entire country is getting invaded I am supposed to care whether one of the brother’s hooks up or not? I mean I can understand the Matt Eckert’s relationship since it happened prior to the invasion but the extra tacked on relationship in order to garner more emotion for later in the film, felt really forced. All the action takes place in a bubble. How do you become an expert insurgent fighter like the Mujahadeen and the Minute Men? A quick montage where Jed Eckert (Liam Hemsowrth) a former marine teaches the kids how to be an insurgent fighter like one two three, and the next thing you know these high school students are all Bruce Lee clones.

In what had to be an oversight, we learn in the film that North Korea has invaded the entire USA from Seattle to Detroit to Texas……except this little forest right next to the cabin where the kids are staying. These are either the dumbest invaders in the world or they are the stupidest invaders in the world.

This movie also did something really interesting. In a stupid way. You see there were too many characters in this little bubble and not enough screentime for them all. So they did what anyone would do. Get rid of the extraneous characters and play up the emotion. Sure it works the first time. But after the 3rd, 4th, 5th time, it gets kind of tiring. There is so much crying in this film, it might be the Twilight of war movies. A far cry from the original’s aw shucks cheese factor.

Maybe this film would have been better under its original form, before MGM went bankrupt. And it was. it just was released in 1984.

Overall grade: D

You might be better off watching Skyfall to fulfill your action fix over this Thanksgiving break.

– PJ


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