Arts Desk

The Terrible Red Dawn, Reviewed

Not even Thor can save the tedious amateur hour (plus) that is Red Dawn, an unnecessary remake (is that redundant?) of a pretty awful 1984 Patrick Swayze/Charlie Sheen vehicle about a group of teens fighting the Commies when the world goes to shit. This time, Chris Hemsworth is the star, North Korea is the enemy, rookie Dan Bradley is at the helm—and a promising debut it is not.

Hemsworth is Jed, a Marine who is on leave when enemy troops start parachuting into the States and killing people. Jed immediately takes command over a group of kids who escape, including his younger, wimpier brother, Matt (Josh Peck), and a bunch of others you don't get to know or care about (one embarrassingly played by has-long-since-paid-his-dues Josh Hutcherson). They gather supplies and literally head for the hills, where they alternately hide out and fight as necessary.

The melodramatic speechifying starts early in Red Dawn and doesn’t let up, and by the time you get to Jed’s growled, “You fucked with the wrong family!”, you’ll be guffawing instead of cheering. This remake is a series of explosions in search of a plot, an exercise in chaotic editing (even the opening high school football game is a series of manic cuts), and even worse acting. The brawny Hemsworth, at least, is believable as a Marine and someone who could easily take charge in such a situation—even if, when his Jed tells Matt, “This was bound to happen sooner or later,” you really don’t know what he’s talking about because the backstory was rushed through in the opening credits. Why is the entire U.S. suddenly a military state again?

You’ll also never believe that these heretofore spoiled brats suddenly become adept at using automatic weapons and the like. A subplot involves mommy/daddy issues with Jed and Matt; like the central story, though, it tends to be brought up and forgotten as quickly as one of the kids anxiously drops a buck. The movie will vanish from your mind just as fast.

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Comments

  1. #1

    I enjoyed seeing Chris Hemsworth play the character 'Thor'. However, I don't think his character in this movie will be great.

  2. #2

    This goes down in the annals on the same level as "Roadhouse". Hooted out of the theatre.

  3. #3

    KINDA DUG THE ORIGINAL BECAUSE IT HAD IT'S PLACE AT THAT TIME WITH THE COLD WAR.

    NORTH KOREA?????
    UHH CHILD PLEEZE.

    MS.O YOUR FAWNING OVER HEMSWORTH SHIRTLESS FLEXING IN THOR SEEMS TO HAVE BOUGHT HIM A PASS IN YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THIS PURE GARBIDGE. QUIPS & QUOTES, ONE LINERS AND LOOKING THE PART DOESN'T MAKE UP FOR BAD ACTING.
    JUST SAYING????

  4. #4

    You're right, it was bad acting -- but it's hard to be good when the script is so awful. I did think he was fine in Thor, though. (And not just the shirtless kind of fine.)

  5. #5

    It doesn’t sound like there’s anything redeeming in the Red Dawn remake. I’m taking it off my list of movies to see. I’m curious about the original, though. From what you said it’s pretty bad, but a friend I work with at DISH recommended it, so I’ll probably still check it out. It’s available for streaming from DISH Online, so I can watch it any time. I actually think it sounds pretty interesting when considered in terms of the cold war, so hopefully it’s better than you say.

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