“Red Dawn” is a remake of another movie with the same name, made back in 1984. The newer version is packed with lots of guns, explosions and testosterone. It’s dominated by men who want to defend their city against invading North Korean (originally Chinese) invaders. It centers around Jed Eckert, a U.S. Marine on leave and his younger brother, Matt. After seeing their father shot point blank, they vow to fight their enemies by creating a small group of renegades.
What many people may not know is that this film was shot and completed in 2009, but due to MGM’s financial troubles, it was shelved. After lead actor Chris Hemsworth shot to fame with “Thor” and “The Avengers”, the company hoped his star power would give this film a much needed boost. While “Red Dawn” had good intentions, it just could not reach the success of its predecessor. It suffered from multiple problems, like issues with time in the narrative, bad acting and confusing battle sequences.
The problems came in the beginning, because the film beings in the middle of things. No one is introduced or given much of a back story. The pacing is incredibly fast. Immediately after the main characters are introduced, the Koreans invade and take over the country. This is also when the issues with time come into play. When the Koreans come, it seems as though they have already taken over most of the state, if not the country already. As the film progresses, it is mentioned that the entire nation has been taken over, but the time span in the movie is roughly three days.
As previously mentioned, a lot of the film’s popularity was riding on the residual popularity of the Marvel films Chris Hemsworth had done. Even he could not save this movie. The actors, mostly unheard of, couldn’t command attention when they needed to. Most of them couldn’t deliver their lines with any conviction, almost making them seem bored. Some of the characters in the rebel group barely get a chance to speak. Many of them are just stock characters. Most of them get killed but because they were so unimportant, their names are not remembered.
The special effects came off as very cheap and unimpressive. Perhaps that is intentional since it is a group of teenagers who are fighting the Korean army. Even then, is the audience supposed to believe that a small group of young people are able to create bombs that can destroy cars? Where are they getting the materials they haven’t stolen? Since most of them are in high school, how do they happen to know how to use high tech weapons with minimal training? With that in mind, how did they manage to defeat most of the army occupying the city? During the action scenes, the focus would switch from one person to another and back again, then splinter off and show what two other characters were doing. It became very difficult to follow.
While “Red Dawn” is meant to be taken as a serious movie, it’s almost impossible to do so. There are just too many ridiculous moments that come across as humorous. The jokes are ill timed, which just detracts from the film’s credibility. It’s hard to watch a film about violence and war when it’s so poorly acted that it’s nearly a comedy. In spite of all that, it is a very dark, violent, bloody movie. There are scenes where someone will have to turn their head away. Several times, characters get shot in the head and it is shown on screen. It’s not the best film to see.
“Red Dawn” is rated R for coarse language, intense violence and action and sequences of war.