Was the original 1984 version of Red Dawn (the one that starred Patrick Swayze) as cheesy and predictable as the remake?
Why, yes, yes it was.
Although, I think the 1984 version was more enjoyable–probably because I watched it as a 10 year old boy that had not yet become refined and urbane.
I refuse to watch the original as an adult, simply because I think that the fond memories I have will be altered.
Now, back to the movie itself.
The movie begins with scenes of idyllic American life.
American suburban living (James Howard Kunstler has a lot to say about that!).
And then, it happens…
…a rumble, almost the feeling a small earthquake…
…and the power goes out.
No electricity. No water. Nothing electronic working at all.
The premise is that the United States was hit by an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse–see the previous post about EMPs and solar flares here) as a preemptive strike that would allow the North Koreans to invade.
***WARNING: This is a section of the review is a rabbit trail!***
Why the North Koreans, and not some other nation? In the first Red Dawn, the U.S. was attacked by Russia. In this version, the original plan was that the invaders would be the Chinese–which seems almost too plausible to use in the movie.
Here is an explanation for the switch from the Macomb Daily newspaper:
“The makers at MGM ended up swapping out China as the villain for North Korea so as not to offend China’s huge film market. North Korea – a country with neither the might nor the money to pull off an invasion — uses an electro-magnetic pulse to disable electronics in the United States and begin its takeover.”
I think that the truth is, China has already taken over the USA. They do not need to use an EMP, they have already used an FMP–a Financial (Money) Pulse to destroy America. Even as this post is being written, China is ratcheting up its rhetoric about the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands that have been in dispute for 60+ years.
China is “testing the waters,” in the sense that they are using Japan as a proxy to determine what the United States will do. If China and Japan go to war, the US is bound by treaty to defend Japanese interests. The irony is that since the US is financially destitute, it has to borrow money abroad to fight wars. China is our usual first financier of choice–will they lend us money to fight a war against them? I think not!
China plays chess–strategic planning, several moves ahead.
The US plays checkers–one step forward, two steps back.
It seems relatively obvious who will win the contest.
If I were a betting man, I’d place my wager on RED.
Now, back to the movie review!
You walk out of your front door, and you are greeted by military transport planes flying overhead that are dropping thousands of paratroopers–invasion!
The story continues on with many predictable elements (and some wooden acting as well)–teenagers go to the woods and train with some ex-Marines and learn how to wage guerrilla warfare against the North Koreans.
Idealistic patriotism, evil Asians, and trite action scenes don’t really display the range of emotion and difficulties faced in a real war zone and survival scenario.
But, I don’t think that the film makers were going for that .
I think they were going for a cheaply produced, easy action flick that could count on some fans of the old Red Dawn (people like me), and that it would have a teenage boy crowd that would like the explosions.
Gary Wolcott of atomictown.com called this remake “redundant and ridiculous.”
There was very little survival educational material in the movie, just a bunch of mindless action and explosions.
Would I watch it again?
Probably not. I’ll watch something else on Netflix’s line up of survival movies. Something like “Into the White” or “Downfall.”