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.