MRR Movie Review: Red Dawn


Movie Review: "Red Dawn"

-- Rating: PG-13 (For sequences of intense war violence and action, and for language)
Length: 114 minutes
Release Date: Nov. 21, 2012
Directed by: Dan Bradley
Genre: Action

"Red Dawn" is an action war movie written by two people, Carl Ellsworth and Jeremy Passmore, and directed by Dan Bradley. It is a remake of the 1984 movie by the same name. It was originally scheduled to be released on Nov. 24, 2010, but the plans were shelved when its intended distributors (MGM) run into financial troubles. FilmDistrict acquired the distribution rights from MGM and rescheduled its release.

"Red Dawn" opens with a montage of newsreel footage, press conferences, and interviews-all showing the building tension between the United States and North Korea (in the first film, it was Russia). Soon after, the audience is introduced to Jed Eckert (portrayed by Chris Hemsworth), a Marine on leave in Washington state, catching up with his brother Matt Eckert (portrayed by Josh Peck) and father Tom Eckert (portrayed by Brett Cullen). These family members have had a lot of differences since their mother died.

Before the trio can patch up their squabbles, North Korean troops parachute in and take the town. They are taking difficult residents as prisoners and shooting dead any that dare to oppose them. The boys are fortunate enough to escape, and they find a refuge in the family's cabin in the woods. It is from this cabin as their base that they decide to form a ragtag army to fight back the invaders.

While the original "Red Dawn" was born of lingering Cold War sentiments and anti-Soviet paranoia, the remake does not seem to have much for its premise. The director of the movie, Dan Bradley, is a respected stunt coordinator. Some critics, however, seem to think that his opening sequence could have been better if fashioned like the opening sequence of the first movie. While it is true that the original John Miliu's movie had a great opening sequence, it can be argued that Bradley wanted to jump straight right into the action.

In the movie, it is not easy to tell why the North Koreans are invading the nondescript town of Spokane. After all, the town does not seem to be useful strategically. The focus, though, is on the group of teenagers banded together and being trained by the U.S. Marine. The marauding band of guerillas, aka junior Rambos, gets involved in a lot of shooting.

The film was interestingly made, and Bradley certainly knew what he was doing. The urban-warfare aspect of the film is certainly well navigated. Most people agree that the battles and chases in the city are very believable, and it is easy to get caught up in the excitement while watching the movie. These kinds of action sequences are at par with the best, such as the ones seen in "Hunger Games." Others have complained that the story is not very plausible; North Korea is not likely to attack the U.S. in an all-out war. If it is indeed true that the story is lame, then the quality of the action scenes did much to redeem the film's value.

Those who worked on or acted in "Red Dawn" knew their business well, starting with Bradley. Bradley is a second unit film director and stunt coordinator. His talent has been visible in some of the most interesting movies of recent times including "Spider-Man 2," "The Bourne Supremacy," "Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol," and many other movies. Hemsworth is an Australian actor who has appeared in several movies. Many people will remember him as Thor in the movie "Thor" and in "Marvel's The Avengers." Peck, on the other hand, is an American comedian, actor, voice actor, and director who most people will remember for portraying Josh Nichols in the sitcom "Drake & Josh." He has also appeared in movies such as "Mean Creek," "The Wackness," and "Drillbit Taylor.".

Hemsworth's delivery is certainly noteworthy. The actor is known for portraying potentially weak characters with such zeal that they end up being the pillars of their stories, like in "Thor." Some people have suggested that he literally made "Red Dawn" successful by delivering sincerity to his character.

Apart from the opening sequence, another difference between the first movie and this remake is that the latter includes a lot of action sequences and is short on platitudes. Even those who do not believe in the flag waving patriotism it seems to support will agree that as a film, it was expertly made. Everybody will agree that "Red Dawn" is fun to watch, and it was certainly not set up to be something it is not. There are even sprinkles of humor in it.

Rating: 3 out of 5