Parachutes over Seattle! Director Dan Bradley’s reimagining of John Milius’ original cult hit “Red Dawn” is here, and so are a truckload of contrivances. Although the only thing that was slightly believable setting the stage for a huge land based attack by North Korea, was a cyber-terrorist attack against the United States, that was about it. The silly notion that armies still invade by parachute was pretty ludicrous, but looks cooler, so they threw that in.
Distributor: Film District
Director: Dan Bradley
Cast: Kirsten Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Bill Burke, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning
Producers: Beau Flynn, Vincent Newman, Tripp Vinson
Screenwriters: Carl Ellsworth, Jeremy Passmore
Genre: Action, War
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense war violence and action, and for language
Running time: 93 minutes
Release date: November 21, 2012
This time, North Korea is the great red scare nation, that would wish to defile the fair and benign U. S. of A, beginning with Seattle. China had been the original enemy, but as the movie was delayed because of original studio MGM’s monetary problems, it is now just being released, even though production was wrapped three years ago in 2009. This was probably the best thing that could have happened for the makers of the newer Dawn, since considering that China has considerable economic sway and owns many U.S. interests, including theater chains, things could have even gone from bad to worse, considering the bad press the film will inevitably face upon release.
As in the original, a group of teens, led by Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth, pre-Thor fame), his star quarterback brother, Matt (Josh Peck), and other forgettable clichéd characters, escape off into the woods and plot a guerrilla warfare campaign against the evil invaders. Patrick Swayze, Leah Thompson, and Charlie Sheen starred in the 1984 version, which had an over-the-top, hyper-paranoid us vs. them Cold War vibe to it. The newer cast look like spiky-haired conveyor belt clones with the sterile acting chops of a pristine hospital floor.
The score is uninspired and generic, and the disorienting shaky cam whisks from one set-piece to the next. We get to follow our young teen freedom fighters, called the “Wolverines” (after their football team), as they make violent and bloody forays into the nearby occupied areas. Will Yun Lee (Electra, Die Another Day) shows up, playing the nefarious Korean army Captain Lo. Lee appears as if he’s looking at his paycheck off camera somewhere. I probably would be too.
As mobs of modern movie goers mingle at multiplexes across the country on November 21st, the big, loud staccato of automatic weapon’s fire and deafening explosions will probably be enough to sate those with minute attention spans. Like a high priced, shiny sports car without an engine, it’s pretty to look at, but after jumping into, takes you from zero to zero really fast, and is quickly forgotten. I could only hope that this vapid offering doesn’t make enough money to warrant a sequel, as hinted at in it’s unresolved ending.
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