sat 19/10/2019

DVD: Red Dawn | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Red Dawn

DVD: Red Dawn

War on US soil, made (far too) simple

Could those be Koreans?

“I hate these kids. Hate ‘em,” says Tanner (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a handsome, mature commando who wants to help a bunch of high school football players save America from, yes, a North Korean invasion in the 2012 remake of John Milius’ and Kevin Reynolds’ 1984 right-wing fightfest Red Dawn. Competently directed by second unit/experienced stunt coordinator Dan Bradley, Red Dawn was shot then shelved before being recut by the studio marketers. This means Red Dawn never had a chance to shine. Hence, it has little to recommend it in any department – not music, direction, makeup, production design, cinematography and certainly not the script, which features a lot of “We’re not doing too bad for a bunch of kids” dialogue.

The setup – North Korea chooses to invade Spokane, Washington – is about as convincing as the United States being invaded by giant rabbits or robots. (Both concepts have been used in films. North Koreans also figured in the more recent Olympus Has Fallen.) This remake originally stipulated a Chinese invasion but no. Why would North Korea invade Spokane? For the coffee?

Cheap remarks aside, no filmmaker wants to make a bad film. The fact that Red Dawn suffered from such bad luck means that it probably was, in fact, a better film on the drawing board. Nevertheless, its actors are notable: Chris Hemsworth, star of Thor and Ron Howard’s upcoming and quite wonderful Rush, Josh Hutcherson of The Hunger Games and Connor Cruise, the son of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Capt. Cho is played by the capable Will Yun Lee.

If you crave easy to follow if illogical war schlock, it doesn’t come any better than this. “This is about to get interesting,” says Tanner, the same guy who hated the kids earlier. As handsome as he is, Tanner is wrong. Red Dawn never gets interesting, even if you wait a long time.

Watch the trailer to Red Dawn

The set up is about as convincing as the United States being invaded by giant rabbits or robots

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