Red Dawn remake beats a dusty drum
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, and Josh Hutcherson. Rated PG. Now playing
This remake of Red Dawn is so brain-dead it makes the relentless idiocy of the original look almost thoughtful. The 1984 version featured Patrick Swayze and a bunch of small-town Colorado teens battling invading Soviet forces. This time around, the bad guys are North Koreans who have conquered Spokane using the ultimate commie app: a high-tech form of mind control.
This is the kind of story that showcases a myopic point of view with plenty of flag-waving. First-time director Dan Bradley’s opening montage—a dirty little series of quick cuts featuring President Barack Obama and other prominent American politicians—tries to add a speck of gravity to a premise that’s beyond absurd. It fails miserably.
What can you say about a movie where the last stronghold of democracy is a high-school football team? The Wolverines, trading in their shoulder pads for automatic weapons and a life without toilet paper, drive the North Koreans batty with their wily guerilla tactics.
The leader of the Wolverines is Jed Eckert (Thor’s Chris Hemsworth), a marine on leave who arrives just in time to watch the local commander of the North Korean forces shoot his police officer dad through the head. Jed and his younger brother Matt (Josh Peck) take off for a cabin in the woods. Along the way, they manage to pick up a few of Matt’s high-school pals, including the nerdy Robert (Josh Hutcherson of The Hunger Games).
There’s a lame subplot that involves the remote Jed getting to know his little brother, but, for the most part, Red Dawn is about cardboard villains and lots of flying bullets. It’s an ugly little movie that clearly hopes to spawn an ugly little sequel. Watch it and you’ll get exactly what you deserve.
Watch the trailer for Red Dawn.