Old Movie Review: Red Dawn (2012)

Joining the list of recent 80’s remakes, we have “Red Dawn” starring Chris Hemsworth, a.k.a. Thor. This is based on the 1984 movie of the same name starring Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen.


In the original movie, the Soviets and a few smaller countries (Cuba and Nicaragua) invade the U.S. This time around, it’s the North Koreans (I heard that originally it was going to be the Chinese, but, thin-skinned as their oppressive government is, they raised holy-heck over it and Hollywood backed down, changing it to North Korea. Oh well), which to me, makes the movie somewhat implausible from the get-go. (I mean, really: North Korea? I know they have a nuke, but it still seems like a David and Goliath type of scenario to me). The implausibility is mitigated somewhat by one scene where it is stated that the North Koreans “had help.” And a Russian anti-insurgency specialist does show up later in the movie. Additionally, the North Koreans used some sort of super-weapon: a massive electrical pulse that took out all our power grids. Everywhere.


Anyway, that’s the premise of the movie: the North Koreans invade the U.S. And two brothers, one a rough and tough ex-marine (Hemsworth), and the other a football player, lead a group of high-school students and a little bit older people in an insurgency. The movie follows the story of that insurgency. There is blood, death, and explosions. It’s not a very intellectual movie, but I don’t think it was intended to be. It’s more of a story of patriotism and national spirit.


Strengths: well, we’ll give it a few points for being patriotic. That’s always a plus. I thought the acting was fine with the script they were given; beyond that, though, nothing stands out. Weaknesses: well, there were several of these. First, there was the premise which I discussed above. Additionally, and more importantly, for much of the movie, it seemed to lack a well-conceived plot. There was nothing more specific driving the characters than insurgency. And that just led to shootings and explosions without much more meat for the brain. For a brief time, they had a specific objective—get the North Korean top-secret case—but other than that it was just too generalized. And I didn’t like that. Additionally, and this is also important, it seemed hard to follow for me. This may have been related to the too-generalized plot, but whatever it was, it detracted from the enjoyment. Finally, and this may have just been the CD, but the action—I mean the actual movement of the characters across the screen—was jerky. This last defect bothered my friends more than it did me, but at times even I was annoyed.


Overall, I’ll give the movie three stars out of five.

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About atoasttodragons

The author, Matthew D. Ryan, lives in northern New York on the shores of Lake Champlain, one of the largest lakes in the continental United States, famous for the Battle of Plattsburgh and the ever-elusive Lake Champlain Monster, a beastie more commonly referred to as Champy. Matthew has studied philosophy, mathematics, and computer science in the academic world. He has earned a black belt in martial arts.

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