Saturday, December 8, 2012

Red Dawn (2012)-review

Red Dawn is the remake of the 1984 film of the same name.  The film received a lot of press during development when it changed the villains from the Chinese to the North Koreans in order to maintain access to China’s box office.  The film still contains much of the same mood concept of the original, though it lacks some of the spirit.  On its own it’s not a bad movie.

Jed Eckhert, played by Chris Hemsworth, is visiting his family after a tour of duty with the Marines. His brother Matt, played by Josh Peck, is bummed after losing a football game and will spend a majority of the film being mopey and annoying.   They wake one morning to find North Korean paratroopers landing and taking over the city of Spokane, Washington.  They gather a few other people and head for the woods where they start a resistance group called the Wolverines- named after their high school mascot.   Will these young people be able to thwart the North Korean menace?

The acting is okay for the most part.  Chris Hemsworth gives a good performance as usual.  In addition, Jeffrey Dean Morgan gives a decent performance in a relatively small role.  Josh Peck as Matt, is one of the biggest let downs in this movie.  He is an absurdly written character that truly is in need of a beating. It’s the smug look he has on his face every time he delivers a line that makes him deserving of a sharp slap to his gob. 

It’s difficult to talk about this movie without talking about how it compares with the original.  I thought the CGI paratroopers looked ridiculous and lacked any threat for a modern attack.  It was also odd that after just one montage, the high school kids were relatively good and confident at using firearms, making explosives with C4, and even using RPGs.  In the original the kids were good at their attacks but it was clear that they were amateurs.  Not that that the original was a great movie; the movie had more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese.  I just felt it was a noticeable difference.

For the most part the movie is entertaining.  Though not nearly on the same level as the original, it at least showed it wanted to belong in the same mood and attempt some of the same themes. If you are in the mood for a movie that gives a new take on the old theme then give it a rental or catch it during a matinee.  

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