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Dated and Dreary
RED DAWN (15)
Action/Thriller/Romance. Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, Connor Cruise, Edwin Hodge, Will Yun Lee, Brett Cullen. Director: Dan Bradley.
THE 1984 version of Red Dawn, directed by John Milius, was a jingoistic action adventure of its time.
Released during the icy chill of The Cold War, the simplistic story of a group of plucky US teenagers fighting back against invading Soviet forces was a rousing call to arms to America against its military rival. Patrick Swayze, C Thomas Howell and Charlie Sheen lent the film a certain cache that wooed audiences despite the lukewarm reviews.
Fast forward more than 25 years and global politics have changed beyond recognition.
Alas, Dan Bradley’s laboured remake hasn’t moved with the times. Shot in 2009 and then consigned to a dusty shelf when film company MGM filed for bankruptcy, this spruced-up version of Red Dawn originally cast the Chinese as the Communist aggressors, who invade American soil.
Evidently, the filmmakers thought twice about vilifying a potentially lucrative market for the remake so in the intervening years, hasty rewrites and digital trickery have erased all mention of the Chinese and installed North Korea as the boo-hiss villains instead.
This last-minute change renders Bradley’s film nonsensical.
It’s highly unlikely that North Korea could muster the ground troops or military hardware to take control of everything except for a swathe of predominantly red states “from Michigan to Montana, Alabama to Arizona.”
Director Dan Bradley cannot disguise gaping plot holes or the script’s ham-fisted attempt to splice global politics with propulsive action sequences and hoary teen angst.