Red Dawn (2012) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

It is the beginning of World War III in the opening moments of the newly rebooted Red Dawn, which transplants the setting of the original from the mid-west to a city in Washington state. Americans awaken to the horrific sight of foreign paratroopers dropping from the sky. A group of teenagers, led by Chris Hemsworth look to save their town from an invasion, banding together to form a rebel alliance known as the Wolverines.

Those familiar with the original may recognize the change in enemy, The Russian army has been replaced by an invading horde from North Korea. The new villains are caricatures in the same vein that the Soviets were shown before. There is a slimy general responsible for the death of one of the kid’s parent, in an attempt to flush out the insurgents. There is an efficient low-fi vibe that first time director Dan Bradley is able to achieve without flashy stunt pieces or graceful CGI, the acting is adequate and the production as a whole is respectable. Those looking for a pure breed action film are in luck, the creative forces on this new project have forgone the deeper themes in John Milius’s 1984 original. In that picture the story had elements of both Rambo and Lord of the Flies, this is the CW version of the same events.

The greatest asset to Red Dawn is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. In fact I would argued that it relishes its absurdity. Take for instance a scene in which the kids are fleeing from the pursing soldiers only to hide in a Subway sandwich shop full of people, then robbing the store of foot-longs and buckets of soda. Are you really going to haul that for miles to a remote camp when a Russian special forces officer patrolling for insurgents is on your tail? I guess those questions shouldn’t be thought of when watching a fantasy flick, and yes this movie is pure fantasy.

Director: Dan Bradley
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Adrianne Palicki

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