Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Red Yawn

Directed by DAN BRADLEY

Thanksgiving. A time of turkey, football, and long movie lines. Everyone (except the poor movie theater workers) has a few days off. So after you eat with your family and friends, what else is there to do? After all, some of us don't want to spend too much time with our family.

Just make sure that when you go to the theater next week you don't haplessly wander into the 'Red Dawn' remake, which I just saw last night. The movie hits theaters just in time for turkey day and will no doubt appeal to those nostalgic for the original 1984 film with Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, and (a non-drug addicted) Charlie Sheen. But don't be taken in by such things because as much as you love Chris Hemsworth, even he can't save this dog-faced film.

Let's be honest, it's not like the first film was a brilliant feat of movie making, but at least it was fun to watch. The remake on the other hand (like most remakes) is not fun in the slightest. The worst part is that the storyline is shallow and when a character dies you're not likely to notice (due to the terrible camera work) or care for that matter. In fact the camera work is so shaky and the editing is so poor that you can scarcely tell what's going on. If you're feeling a little queasy after too much stuffing and turkey, make sure you take a Dramamine before you go the 'Red Dawn' remake. You'll thank me later.

'Red Dawn' is currently rated 33% on Rotten Tomatoes and although I don't agree with some reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (I didn't agree with 'Battle L.A.'), I do agree with the consensus on the 'Red Dawn' remake.
"Unless you're looking for a dumbed down popcorn movie during the holidays, don't bother with this one."
'Red Dawn' 2012
The remake starts like the first one did. The U.S. is invaded by an enemy force and a band of teenagers are forced to become revolutionaries. Which if this were really the case, we Americans would be in serious serious trouble--especially with this group. The best part of the film are the invasion scenes. After the invasion, the film drops into the nether regions of filmmaking. Somehow our heroes manage to defeat the invaders before one of  character's iPhone loses it's charge, which I assume is a few days (if it's like my iPhone). This occurs despite their lack of training, intelligence, and organization.
"The original film had one thing the remake doesn't, heart."
In the original film, one could tell the passage of time and the evolution of the characters. I'll never forget when Jed (Patrick Swayze, now played by Hemsworth) told sensitive Robert (C. Thomas Howell, now played Josh Hutcherson) to turn his deep pain into "something else," meaning anger. C. Thomas Howell's character subsequently evolved into something vicious and scary. The original film dealt with big questions, like what happens to people, especially young people, in war. The wolverines in the original film not only dealt with the death of their companions, but the death of their enemies. No such questions are asked in the remake. The original film had one thing the remake doesn't, heart.

The remake lacks any semblance of emotion or even a touch of reality. In the original film, the Soviets invaded America. During the Cold War, which extended into the early 1980s, this fear was palpable. I remember being in grammar school in the early 1980's. We had drills to "prepare" us for the possibility of a nuclear strike from the USSR. Although hiding under a grade school desks would not likely save us from anything, it illustrates that there used to be "real" fear in this country of such a possibility. Movies like 'Red Dawn' and 'The Day After' played on that fear well. To the younger folk out there, 'The Day After' is not a Roland Emmerich film. 'The Day After' was a 1980's television movie about the possibility of a nuclear annihilation.

'Red Dawn' 1984
The new 'Red Dawn's invading mosquito army from North Korea makes no sense. The original 'Red Dawn' was set during a time and a place that felt real. If the film had at least referenced China, as China assisted North Korea in the 1953 Korean Conflict, that would have been a different story. But the idea of North Korea conquering the United States is just ridiculous. I don't even know if North Korea has enough people to manage such a feat. Also, I can only imagine that America would not be a good place for a ground war. Americans have way too many guns. Doesn't everyone know this by now? Any intelligent invader would resort to other methods, but hey just go with it.

Finally, there is the matter of resemblance. In this movie, giant blond Australian Chris Hemsworth is the big brother to a 5'2" feisty dark haired kid from New York. The only thing they have in common is teen angst and the desire to blow stuff up. Ok just go with it, but at least give me a decent storyline. So unless you're looking for a dumbed down popcorn movie during the holidays, don't bother with this one. First time stuntman turned director, Dan Bradley, should stick with his day job.



  1. If that critic said the first one had heart, then this one must be really bad. Don't worry - no intentions of seeing this film.

  2. ouch, wasn't planning on seeing it. Loved the original. The movie was originally filmed with china being the bad guys but was changed to DPRK because they wanted to be able to market the movie to China.

  3. Yeah, this movie looks like ass. I'll stick to the original.

  4. Great picture from the original. Hey, is Charlie Sheen giving us the finger? Oh, it's one of their candy-colored grenade launchers.

  5. I liked the original Red Dawn, but can't believe they bothered to remake it. Skipping it.

  6. Alex-- Good call! Go see Skyfall instead.

    Budd-- I just found that out. That does not surprise me.

    Tom-- Good choice. You're a wise man!

    Mark-- Ha, you never know with Charlie!

    Libby-- I'm with you. There was no point to the remake.

  7. I didn't like the first one, I thought it was just dire, the remake fills me with dread. I'd have stayed home and washed up.


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