John Milius’ “Red Dawn,” released in 1984, was a simplistic, militaristic rabble-rouser of a film, a Reagan-era Cold War relic that offered lots of rah-rah about how mighty the United States fighting spirit was, even when its military was taken out of the picture. It looked silly and dated when it was released; now it’s practically unwatchable.
So the idea that this is not only a classic but that it justifies a remake is ludicrous at best. This was a movie that needed to be forgotten, not resurrected.
The new “Red Dawn” isn’t that much better than the original and doesn’t make much more sense. About the only thing it doesn’t do is make the imposing of Sharia law part of its package of horrors.
Instead of the Russians invading, as happened in the original, it’s the North Koreans, in this film. Because of studio shuffles, this film sat on the shelf for a couple of years and, apparently, the filmmakers changed the villains from the Chinese to the North Koreans because, well, we want things from the Chinese (like a huge mass audience for this film).
After an opening montage about North Korea’s amped up weaponry (provided by those wily but non-invading Chinese) and headlines about a weakened America (let’s see – the desiccation of the American military happened on George W. Bush’s watch fighting two unfunded wars, right?), suddenly the sky over Spokane, Wash., is full of North Koreans with parachutes, who hit the ground firing automatic weapons at the suburbanites.
This review continues on my website.