Red Dawn is a remake of the 1984 movie of the same name, and the biggest difference between the two films is that the newer version is considerably dumber. It’s got all the crummy B-movie vibe of the original in addition to its own flavor of brainless xenophobia.
Starring a singularly uncharismatic pack of youngsters, including Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Josh Hutcherson (Journey), Josh Peck, Isabel Lucas (from Transformers 2) and Friday Night Lights hottie Adrianne Palicki, Red Dawn makes the mistake of confusing American patriotism with teenage bigotry, unabashed racism and classless antipathy. While the original was a campy escapist piece of cinema, the new version is a ditchwater dull, albeit thoroughly offensive piece of drivel.
Without getting into any semblance of logic or sense, the story leaps into a city in Washington suddenly being taken over by the army of North Korea, complete with paratroopers and jingoistic flag bearing soldiers. As the buildings blow up and people scream for help in the siege, a motley group of youngsters called the Wolverines pick up guns, get together and form a team to retaliate against the Korean forces. And just like in a bad video game, the kids run around shooting Koreans and mouth bad one liners, and even save their girlfriends and come to terms with their daddy issues. The actions sequences are only too obviously low budget, and the jittery camerawork fails to provide any entertainment whatsoever. The acting is mostly abysmal and the constant pro-America sloganeering is unintentionally hilarious at best.
Red Dawn was made three years ago, and it is quite apparent why it didn't succeed in finding distributors for so long. Funnily, the antagonists in the film were originally Chinese, and were digitally converted to North Koreans so as to not offend the good folks from China. Sadly none of the alterations fail to offend the audience’s intelligence. It would probably have worked had the film been a straight up cheese and ham entertainer like The Expendables 2, with Nicholas Cage in the lead.
(First published in MiD Day)