Red Dawn Movie Review!


Red Dawn Review By M Vargas
It took four years, a major motion picture company going bankrupt, and around 1 million dollars to re-edit an entire country out of the film adding to the 65 million dollars in film production – all for just a remake.
It is difficult not to try to compare Red Dawn 2012 to Red Dawn 1984, but you have to understand, this IS a remake. It should either attempt to forge a new identity like the Batman reboot, Casino Royale (2006), or The Thing (1982). Unfortunately it does not, and because it didn’t it will have to be compared to “The Original” and to understand why we have to briefly examine the feel of what it was like to grow up in the eighties and the impact it made on our young minds.
Oh to be a budding young nerd boy in the eighties. A cold war kid when Ronald Reagan was the leader of the free world. The Boy Scouts of America were preparing the youth to fight a battle of attrition in the Russian wilderness. School lunches were chock full of additives and steroids to create the new generation of Soviet stomping super soldiers. “The Original” Red Dawn was a product of its time. However, one thing remained constant. We feared and respected our adversaries.
Hollywood portrayals were not without reverence. Roles such as Dolph Lungren’s in Rocky IV, and quite possibly the greatest cold war film of all time with Sean Connery’s role in The Hunt for the Red October (Suck it Dr. Strangelove). In “The Original” one came to admire one of the principal antagonists in Colonel Ernesto Bella. In the new film the antagonist barely receives the lengthy exposure and character development as in the old film. The vaunted Russians make a role that is a couple levels above cameo. The North Korean adversaries feel like they were a last minute change to the entire film. Unlike the old film, there isn’t a feeling of dread of the enemy or a feeling of delight at the sight of their bodies being riddled with bullets.
“The Original” has a stellar cast of actors who later in life would achieve motion picture legend status. Young Charlie Sheen long before he was “winning”. Patrick “The Ghost” Swayze before he turned into a… ghost. Lea Thompson before she was kissing her on screen son in the year 1955. Though the quality of acting in the remake isn’t bad, it’s the plot and the overall flow of the movie that really suffers. You would expect more refinement out of something that was sitting on a shelf for four years. Key events moved on to quickly to sink in or to give you a reason of why you should care. It just didn’t seem plausible enough for me.
Even with the original and digitally edited out Chinese (who I see a little more capable of pulling off an invasion on the US), the plot seemed a little far-fetched. Maybe it takes a lot to faze us as Americans in our post 9/11 world. We don’t exactly live in that paranoia that existed back in the 1980’s. Even with the super imposed text in the beginning of the original that explained the world events leading up to invasion weren’t that necessary in 1984 to believe the big shit sandwich that is the idea of the Russians invading America. Believe me, the idea of North Koreans parachuting in and kicking over your grandmother’s rascal electric scooter seems a little on the side of me getting laid by Olivia Wilde; and that’s a very, very depressing realization that such an event will never happen. The North Koreans that is…
Can the 2012 Red Dawn survive as a stand-alone film? If we could just forget “The Original” and treat this as a new movie about a Marine who’s at home in between deployments finds himself in the middle of a North Korean invasion and helps his goofy love struck younger brother become a hardened leader of a guerilla organization? Yes it was entertaining, but then again so was Transformers. But in between the explosions and gun battles, the writers don’t expect us to be interested in things such as plot or dialogue.
Is this what our generation of writers can come up with? This is the guy who wrote Distrurbia and Red Eye. These are the dudes that gave Shia LeBeouf roles to drop acid and method act through. What happened to great screenwriters like John Milius, the dude who wrote Apocalypse Now (1979), Conan the Barbarian (1982), Rome TV Series (2005-2007) and oh yeah, Red Dawn (1984). We’re ending up with writers who are too lazy to come up with anything good and have to revert to the “good ole days”. They remake good films FOREVER tarnishing their memory, obligating us to add “The Original” when referring to the greater of the two. 
As a stand-alone film compared to the original, this film is an attempt to tug at the nostalgia and fantasy of the original. It doesn’t go deep enough into the emotional pool that is the original film it’s like a stone that skips along the surface of something that could be truly great. In “The Original”, the Wolverines lost their humanity. Survival made them make some difficult decisions like executing one of their own when they learned of his betrayal. In the remake, they do encounter some hardships along the way but adopt a no hard feelings attitude to some severely disparaging and life changing events.
Do not expect me to be picking this movie up on Blu-Ray when it finally comes out about two months from now and I do no suggest it to you either.
The Verdict…
2.5 out of 5

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