Red Dawn (2012)

3.66 Overall Score
Acting: 5/10
Writing: 3/10
Directing: 3/10

Not much.

A lot.

Red Dawn

Dir: Dan Bradley

Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Isabel Lucas, Josh Hutcherson

Admittedly sometimes remakes work.  I am unfamiliar with the original Red Dawn (1984), so my viewing of this one was not hindered by the inevitable comparisons one typically draws between the two.  That being said, this film had a lot of promise to be a fun popcorn, action flick… but suspensions of disbelief will only take you so far.  The film marks Dan Bradley’s directorial debut… that previously worked in the industry as a stunt coordinator.

Jed and Matt Eckert awake one morning to find that North Korean forces are invading their Northwestern town.  Jed (Hemsworth), having just returned home from the military, evades capture with Matt (Peck) and a few other teens, and head to a cabin in the woods.  There they witness the death of their father and decide to set up a guerrilla army to undermine the North Korean efforts.  This version seemingly follows the same story as the original.

Going into this film I really was not expecting much.  Despite this, I managed to see the promise this film had… but it never hits the mark.  For starters, there are too many holes in the story.  I for one am prefer it when films that deal with science or anything of the like remain vague with their explanations, because more often than not the more they try to explain things the more holes you find in the explanation.  But the films vague explanation as to why this invading force managed to make it onto US soil undetected is simply not enough.  The idea that a massive electro magnetic pulse could disable the largest, most over funded army in the globe, is absurd… or at the very least hard to swallow, despite the US’s heavy reliance on technology.  The patriotic themes and dialogue are clichéd and expected, but seriously overdone as the film progresses.

The action sequences in the film are decent, but never as interesting or exciting as they could have been, and slightly ridiculous.  The North Koreans have to be the most aloof army I have ever seen on screen.  They never seem to look around for potential threats, and never notice the heavily armed teens that always seem to be at blatantly standing in a well-lit window.  But what really bothered me is how quickly most of these kids manage to get over taking a life.  Aside from one of them throwing up and being hesitant about it, their really isn’t much attention given to this and even a line of dialogue mentioning the similarities to their situation and a video game.  I cannot believe that only one of them would be grappling with the morality and emotions of the situation.

The last fifteen minutes will have you bewildered by the absurdity, and the clichéd ending will make you cringe.  The political climate of the 80’s made the original relevant to its time, and given the current situations overseas this film also seems to fit this purpose.  But the slight relevance isn’t enough to save this feature from being a complete waste of time.  Honestly I’m surprised these kids could put their iPhones down long enough to realize what was going on around them… but maybe I’m just being cynical.



Dan Folgar
Author: Dan Folgar View all posts by
Dan Folgar received a degree in Cinema Studies from the University of Central Florida in 2008, and is currently working on an MFA in Fine Arts. He is an avid film watcher and an enthusiast who is prone to ranting. Follow on twitter @grim842.

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