Published on November 27th, 2012 | by Chris2
Red Dawn (2012)
I so wanted to pan Red Dawn as another lame-brained reboot of an older movie that didn't need to be made. But I have to hang my head in shame and just mumble, "yeah, ok, so I actually liked it." I did. I really did. Here's why.
1984's Red Dawn played on the then-current fear of the Soviet "Red Menace" invading the US. Ooooh that boogeyman Communism. (I'm working on another post about this...) Unfortunately it suffered greatly from that 1980's movie problem, cheese. I actually had to go back and re-watch the original version when I got home, just to be sure I wasn't hallucinating and that this new version was indeed a vast improvement. I wasn't wrong.
Let's recap. The North Koreans invade the Pacific Northwest United States, specifically Spokane, Washington. They're part of a bigger invasion involving (of course) the Russians. And they managed to pull this off with a well placed plot-device, I mean new super weapon.... but that doesn't matter.
This time around, Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth) and his brother Matt (Josh Peck) take up the gauntlet along with Robert (Josh Hutcherson), Toni (Adrianne Palicki), Erica (Isabel Lucas), Daryl (Connor Cruise), and Danny (Edwin Hodge).
What they've done is instead of wholly remake the original, they've managed to take the basic premise and characters, and mold it into a totally new take on it. Sort of like what Abrams did with Star Trek (the best comparison I can come up with.) The story is more or less the same, only now we're in a primarily urban setting with the combat vs. out in the Colorado desert, and I have to say it is a lot, A LOT, more action-packed and dare I say believable than the last version. They also managed to leave a lot of bread crumbs and borrowed a lot of scenes from the original, while still making them fit in quite well, and making them their own. Whether its the "popup" scene, the "tracking device" scene, or a pretty humorous take (and jab) at the deer-blood scene.
Instead of a downed Air Force pilot, they are found by a team of three Marines, who come looking for them to help get some radio device from the uber-bad-guy Korean, Cho (Will Yun Lee)
If there is a failure, it is this entire plot with Cho and the radio, and the addition of some random Russian special forces guy who just happens to be an expert in "counter insurgency".... This Russian bit is really never played out, and I wonder if some scenes got left on the floor with this. Anyway. I never really found Cho to be all that convincing as a villain, sorry guys. And the radio plot felt contrived at best. Although it absolutely provided for some stellar action at the end.
And you're going to have to let that "suspension of disbelief" thing take over, especially if you're one of those "pfft, that's an American tank" types. Because I recognized a lot of the big hardware as being GI issue, such as the Humvees and the big Abrams rolling down the street. Maybe it was captured and repainted, yeah, that's the ticket.
The ending is also a nice nod to the original, but still provides a much better twist, and much better execution. Whereas the original left it in a state of "this already happened", here we leave just as things get interesting. Maybe a vain hope of a sequel? Probable.
Acting? Well, lets just say that nobody's going to be winning any Oscars here. Shakespeare this is not. I can honestly say that none of the principles really turned me off of their parts. Except for maybe Yun Lee as Cho, but I don't think that was so much his fault as how the character was written. He just didn't get a chance. I mean, how hard is it for a bunch of teenagers to play, well, a bunch of teenagers?
Long story short, put your preconceived notions about "reboots" aside, and just roll with it. I went in ready to roll my eyes and trash the whole thing, but came out suitably entertained, with a "not bad" feeling overall. This is not your father's (aka mine) Red Dawn. I have to give it a solid 7/10. Because the entire "radio" plot thing didn't work for me. Other than that it still wasn't half bad. I'd put it on par with its Australian counterpart Tomorrow, When the War Began, but for slightly different reasons.
Red Dawn (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
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In Red Dawn, a city in Washington state awakens to the surreal sight of foreign paratroopers dropping from the sky - shockingly, the U.S. has been invaded and their hometown is the initial target. Quickly and without warning, the citizens find themselves prisoners and their town under enemy occupation...
DVD InformationBinding: Blu-ray
Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Original Release Date:
- Chris Hemsworth
- Josh Peck
- Josh Hutcherson
- Adrianne Palicki
- Isabel Lucas
- Run Time: 93
- Release Date: 5/6/2014
Summary: Actually a fairly good reboot of the original, not without its flaws, but an enjoyable action movie.