Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The RED DAWN remake is a RED YAWN

I know the original RED DAWN was not the most realistic war movie ever made.  In many ways it was a naive fantasy war movie.  It was a movie that capitalized on the biggest fear of the 1980's which was the expansion of Communism through military might.  I remember watching RED DAWN on TNT with host Joe Bob Briggs.  He had a military expert explain how if something like RED DAWN did happened it would not happen the way the movie portrays.  The military would not be using the weapons that are being used in the movie and so forth.  Needless to say he tore the movie apart with it's depiction of war.  But that didn't mean the first RED DAWN was a bad movie.  Quite the contrary.  1980's RED DAWN was a violent, dramatic film that left an impression on those that watched it.  It was a shocking film for its time.  I remember a news report claiming that it was the most violent movie of all time.  High school kids forming a gorilla resistance group against the Commies and learning first hand the horrors of war was a good story.  I remember RED DAWN being a great movie.  It has been awhile so I may eat those words the next time I see it.  The point is that even though it has been awhile since I have seen the original I remember moments and characters from the film.  Old RED DAWN was a memorable film with an anti war message with one of the leading invading commanders questioning why they started the war in the first place.  On the other hand the remake is a blah, frantic mess of film making.  It is totally forgettable.

Who wanted to see a remake of RED DAWN?  Did the young kids of today want another RED DAWN?  Have they even heard of the original?  They probably haven't and that is why they made it.  It was catered to a younger audience.  It was made as a PG-13 action movie with young actors that never get too dirty and I do believe they make a mention of THE CALL OF DUTY games.  I am surprised they didn't take it a little further with the video game reference by having one of the Wolverines shoot and miss a bunch of bad guys then take his gun and throw it to the ground in anger crying out "LAG" in the middle of all the explosions, gunfire and dead bodies that surround him.  They could of had another character give the other a smile acknowledging the joke and the two comrades could have a laugh amongst the carnage.  Computer generated carnage of course which adds to the wannabe CALL OF DUTY look of the film.

The remake of RED DAWN is a film of compromise.  The R rated bloody violence is reduced to PG-13 computer generated explosions.  The movie was suppose to be about China invading but the makers changed it when the Chinese complained. Now it is about North Korea invading America which makes no sense.  If  North Korea invaded a country it would be South Korea.  The cinematography is shaky trying it's best to generate excitement.  Combine that with fast paced super hip music video editing and you are left with quick moments of confusion not knowing what just happened.

Striving to stand out and be different from the original the new RED DAWN makes all the wrong decisions.  In the original, one of their own knowingly betrays them forcing the young Wolverines to make a hard choice and execute someone that was their friend. This was someone that they had known growing up.   There is real drama and tension.  You are not sure until the firing happens if they are really going to go through with the execution.  In the new one we have some jerks be the betrayers at the beginning of the invasion and when it is time to kill them there is no hard choices only rejoicing because they deserve to die.  Then one of their friends gets implanted unknowingly with a tracker and he has to stay behind.  That could have been something of interest but by this time in the film's run time who cares?

Spoiler ahead if you care!

They kill off the wrong brother!  Can you believe they kill off Thor instead of the boring whiny kid that got one of their own killed.  Nothing happened to him.  If they wanted to make a different RED DAWN the makers should have built a friendship between Thor and the Special Forces guy who was the father in SUPERNATURAL.  That would have been a better move instead of developing the uninteresting high school quarterback who looks suspiciously like a 38 year old when he cries.

Worst of all they leave the movie open for a sequel.  I kind of had a feeling when watching the trailer that this was going to be a part one.  I don't know why I felt that.  It is hard to explain but it was like they were going for a young crowd that was really into both the Harry Potter and Twilight films who played violent first person shooters.  If they were going to do that however, they killed off the wrong brother.  The more marketable actor was the guy who played the Thor not scrunchy face kid.  Whoops!  I guess they could make the sequel more about that one guy who is in THE HUNGER GAMES.  Let us just hope the makers are too distracted by the latest CALL OF DUTY game to write a sequel.


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