Monday, 18 March 2013

Red Dawn

Red Dawn isn’t a film I had any interest in seeing and certainly wouldn’t have gone out of my way to see but as with Cloud Atlas, I took the opportunity to see it on a recent flight. And as with my Cloud Atlas review, this will be half remembered, rambling and make little sense. A bit like the film – who’s with me? No. Ok. The movie’s ridiculous plot is based on the 1984 movie of the same name, a film I remember seeing when I was in my early teens but a film which left no impact on me. The story is set against a North Korean invasion of the USA. When his small Washington town comes under a surprise attack by the North Korean army, on leave U.S. Marine Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth) escapes to the woods with a group of teens and begins a fight back against the new regime.

I remember playing a video game with a similar premise to this film about twelve years ago which I really enjoyed. From what I recall you played a plumber in New York City and had to take back the city from the Soviets using guerrilla tactics. It was a lot of fun. Red Dawn isn’t. In 1984 the idea that the Soviets could attack, let alone invade the US was far fetched but you go with it. In 2013 the idea that North Korea could invade the US West Coast is preposterous (famous last words) but the movie makes use of current tensions and enemies to provide an adversary. As ridiculous as the idea that the North Koreans could successfully invade the US is, the idea that all that is left to defend the country are a group of unbelievably attractive teens and Thor is perhaps the most ridiculous part of the entire movie.

I enjoyed the opening montage of how the financial crisis has weakened the US and NATO and some of the invasion footage was cool but that was pretty much where my enjoyment ended. The film is so muddled and confusing that any possible fun that could be taken from the Kids vs. Reds story is lost. The plot seems to run from paratroopers to escape and then suddenly the Koreans are in charge with posters up everywhere, tanks all over the streets and a full infrastructure. It is never made clear how long this has taken, how long the kids are out in the woods or if the rest of the States are under attack. The whole thing is really, really confusing.

The characters are all one dimensional and offer little but their model like looks. There’s the one whose parents have been killed, the one whose dad is collaborating, the guy in need of redemption, the irresponsible one, the black one… etc etc. The female characters have even fewer character traits. Only one is given anything to do and that’s to be rescued by one of the guys. The idea that it is only a bunch of cheerleaders, high school football players and Thor who manage to escape and fight back is also really dumb. The dialogue is amongst the most patriotically, mind numbing, full of bravado nonsense that I’ve ever heard. Lines such as “It’s a good day to die gentlemen”, “We’re outnumbered and outgunned” and “Create chaos!” are lines that stuck in my head but the movie is chock full of the sort of stuff which fourteen year old boys draped in American flags, holding hamburgers think is cool. The film might as well just chant “Yeeahhh! USA! USA!” for an hour and a half. The lines “I miss Call of Duty” “Dude, we’re living it!” were perhaps my least favourite. Towards the end of the film a group of stereotypical badass Marines show up and add to the crummy dialogue with some offensive and unfunny swearing along the lines of “Shit-tards” “Shit sandwhich” and “Mo-tards”???

There is a death near the end that is so obvious that a blind man looking the wrong way could have seen it coming. It was just like the spoof scene in Black Dynamite but played straight. There is also something about a box which needs to be captured but I’d lost interest by then and took to looking out of the window at the vast Ocean below me. It was much more interesting than what was on screen. There are some love stories which I couldn’t be bothered investing in and the group of teens went from being scared jocks to badass killers in a two minute training montage. I didn’t buy into any of it. How do you go from never firing a gun to being a deadly assassin in mere minutes? Argh! I’m just remembering how annoying I found this film. Please excuse the stream of consciousness; I’m jetlagged and hungry and jetlagged. I can’t be bothered going on.

All you need to know about Red Dawn is that the idea might sound interesting but it’s preposterous. The idea is poorly handled and despite the odd decent shootout it is badly done. The girls look like models which is off-putting and the coming of age stuff has been done a million times before. Oooh! And I forgot to mention, the special effects are dreadful. Now I'm going to sleep. 



  • The movie was filmed and completed in 2009 and for some reason (snigger) sat on the shelf for three years.
  • In post production the invading army was changed to North Korean from Chinese in order to appeal to the growing Chinese box office.
  • Chris Hemsworth and Isabel Lucas were both on Home and Away and dated in real life. (I'm like E! now).   


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