Red Dawn is the remake of a movie from 1984. In the original movie the dawn of World War III is heralded by Soviet troops invading America. And a bunch of teens in a Midwestern town band together to hold off the enemy.
This 2009-completed, 2012-released remake has recast the enemy as North Korean armed forces, the town being defended is Spokane, Washington, and the ragtag group of teenagers is led by Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth, yes Thor himself) who just happens to be a Marine home on leave from Iraq.
There was great scope for a fun film here. A little tension, a little cowboy initiative, some spectacular explosions, some rapidfire dialogue…yeah there was potential. Unfortunately—save for the explosions—there is precious little else of what one would expect from a movie like this.
Maybe it’s because the teenagers who must attack the invaders and drive them back spend way too much time with their feelings. Talking about them, confessing to having had them in the past, coming to terms with them.
The cast is peopled with attractive young actors, but man do they make this thing look bad!
Josh Peck, playing the maverick of the group, went from cheerfully insouciant to acting with just his lower jaw within the first fifteen minutes of the movie. The rest of the cast had little to do other than say cliché lines (the black kid says “Damn!” Come on now!), or act as cannon fodder.
Mr. Hemsworth delivers the only tolerable performance in the movie.
This is an action movie people! About a group of teenagers who fight back against invading North Korean troops! Less talk-talk, more boom-boom (however you choose to interpret that).
Any sense of irony, or even gung-ho patriotism, is quickly forgotten in a stream of scenes that play out without an ounce of tension, or logic.
Final analysis: This movie should have been all go-go-go! Instead it stop-starts way too often to even be carried forward on its own momentum.
My advice: Wait for it on cable. You can roll your eyes at the plot holes and behavioral discordance when they start playing this in a never-ending loop on some channel or the other.