The Wolverines have returned in this remake of Red Dawn. I did not see the film in theaters, but had the chance to watch the Red Dawn Blu-ray. 20th Century Fox released the disc this week after the film had been shelved for a number of years. Much like the 1984 film, this new incarnation features a veritable who’s who of up-and-coming actors. Chris Hemsworth, Adrianne Palicki, Josh Hutcherson, Josh Peck, Isabel Lucas, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan star in the film directed by Dan Bradley.
Carl Ellsworth and Jeremy Passmore penned the screenplay that follows a group of teenagers look to save their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers. The film was originally supposed to have Chinese soldiers, but with the delayed release and expensive visual effects the troops and signage were changed to North Korean.
The 1984 version starred Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, C. Thomas Howell, Leah Thompson, Jennifer Grey, and more. It felt like a perfect film for the Cold War when American’s were at odds with the Soviet Union. Despite the United States being at odds currently with North Korea, the remake feels forced. The film has decent action sequences, but I prefer the pacing of the original. One thing that I am happy to see about this version of Red Dawn is that it is not all white characters. Hollywood has come a long way since 1984, it at least tries to represent the melting pot that the United States is.
The script is one of the worst that I have seen in a long time, even for an action movie. ridiculous script. The original did not have many better lines, but it seemed to have a bit more substance. There are a few memorable lines in the remake. The best line has to be “Dude, we’re living Modern Warfare. And it sucks.” I also liked Hemsworth’s motivational line of “We Inherited our freedom, now it’s up to us to fight for it!” The original only had one Latino character, so this was a nice change.What it lacks the film makes up for in some relatively solid action sequences. I am afraid to say that the action is all that this remake has going for it.
The disc does a fantastic job of making the action scenes look and sound wonderful. The only downfall for this version of Red Dawn is the action is not believable. I think that Milius must have put Swayze, Sheen and the rest of the actors through tougher military training to add a realistic touch to the original. My biggest gripe is the way the stars hold the weapons. If they were firing live rounds, the kick from the weapons would knock them to the ground. A prime example of this is when Josh Hutcherson using a gun known as a “Saw”, a very heavy duty machine gun on a roof and not being knocked on his ass. That coupled with Josh Peck jumping out of windows like he is Spider-Man had me crying bullshit., Red Dawn has some extremely ridiculous situations, but would it be an action adventure movie if that wasn’t the case.
If you are expecting a shot-for-shot remake then this is not the movie for you. The plot features a bunch of similarities to the original aside from just the characters names. and Sheen were at there prime, and their line delivery shows. The remake features such young stars, that they are just starting to find themselves as actors. Hemsworth is a suitable choice for the role that Swayze played, but it Josh Peck is not a good filler for Sheen. I loved C. Thomas Howell’s transformation as Robert in the original. Hutcherson, has some elements of that same transformation, but it does not play the same.
This movie should have stayed on shelves, and even had a release. Fox has basically diluted the memory of the original Red Dawn. If you are looking for a classic 80’s action movie, the 1984 version of Red Dawn is the one to see. I recommend you skip this version, and rent or buy that one instead. Share your thoughts in the comments below.