It’s time for a retro war film. As you may expect from the title, things are looking a little dicey for America in this film. We’re outgunned and we’re outnumbered, but we’ve got determination on our side! I can’t say that I had high expectations going into the film and it was more or less what I may have expected. A little worse than what I had expected, but trust me when I say that I was not expecting a masterpiece in the first place. All right, let’s see what made this film hit the ground.
The plot involves a group of teenagers. Jed, Matt, and a few others were at school trying to learn a thing or two when they are attacked by the enemy. See, The United Nations was basically disbanded and all of the countries were either taken over or ran away when the going got tough. This basically left America by its lonesome along with some support from England against Russia and an army of other lands. Their troops attack the school and decide to destroy everyone who’s inside of it. The teenagers escape and head to the mountains where they stay for a little over a month. Eventually, they decide that they’re going to try and take America back as they form the Wolverines. They shall slay anyone who gets in their way. America shall survive!
Well, it’s a classic tale of how a few people can really make the difference in the war. Naturally, it’s hard to even know where to begin when discussing why this does not work. First of all, let’s talk about America. We would definitely not be defeated so easily. I won’t say what the outcome of the war is, but the enemy invaded way too easily. We definitely would have been more prepared and we would have watched as tensions escalated. Never underestimate the strongest country on the planet.
Next up, the Wolverines are very overpowered. They have enough resources to grab rockets, dozens of grenades, different uniforms to camouflage with the environment throughout the year, and so on. They’re still bold enough to walk into town though since nobody can recognize them without their proper gear. The Wolverines are only made up of a few teenagers (at first) but they know how to fight. They easily outshoot the trained professionals when necessary and it just goes to show that your average Quarterback is more than just a strong arm.
I wasn’t really impressed with most of the characters. Jed was definitely better than most of the other heroes. The problem is that it’s more of a default victory than anything. He knows that it’s not good to cry after every casualty and he’s the one who gets everyone to keep their acts together. That being said, Jed can get a little too confident and his big words, “You lose” come back to bite him.
The rest of the teenagers either get no character or are here to drag the rest of the heroes down. Keeping track of all of the names can be tricky, but it doesn’t really matter all that much here. One of the teenagers tends to panic whenever the going gets tough. He’s not the kind of guy that you really want on your team. The heroes also get betrayed by one of the teammates, who basically sells them out. He got sold out first and then decided to sell out his friends. There were two girls who joined the group and they were way too unprepared. They panic at one point in the mountains, which almost costs the heroes everything. Encouraging the others to stay and eat when the enemies laid out an obvious trap wasn’t cool either, but all of the heroes were to blame.
Really, I can’t say that I liked any of them. With the constant panicking, fighting, or just making mistakes in general, it was hard to believe that these guys could really take out so much of the enemy forces. We also had an American pilot who joins the ranks at one point, but he doesn’t really add anything to the story. He just reminds us that America is getting creamed out there and he belittles the teenagers a lot. He has his big moment where he goes up against a tank and realizes that it may have been a bit of a dicey move. At least he reminds the heroes to shoot straight.
One of the classic mistakes that this film makes is the animal violence. We don’t need to see the “heroes” taking the animals down for food. The “hardcore” American tries to one up them by saying that he’s seen squads have to eat each other to keep on going. Yeah…those guys lacked strength of will. Those things certainly aren’t going to help the film at all.
We don’t get much of a soundtrack and I’m not sure how much it could have helped anyway. Red Dawn just isn’t a good film and even writing the review can be a little tedious. It gets to the point where the film had so many negatives that it’s just a little overwhelming. To put it simply, the film was just pretty dreary and it lacked any interesting characters. All of the figures were just there to take up space and to remind us that war isn’t typically good for anyone. The film just forgot that America never surrenders and we should have quickly launched the nukes after such an assault.
The only piece of credit that I would give the film is that the events can feel a little surreal. I can’t say that I really expected the teacher to be taken down so quickly and for the action to suddenly begin like that. It was a little hard to believe that the invasion was actually happening. The film just stayed in the mist for the rest of the experience though and it’s something that’s only good for short bursts. Red Dawn needed to quickly embrace the action or to try and go in a different direction. Staying in the mist is not a good idea either way.
One of the flaws of this film is that is can also be pretty boring. I already mentioned how detached you become from the characters. That’s definitely the first step and it doesn’t get any better since you need to like the characters to enjoy the story. (Typically this is the case) You really know that nothing’s going to happen so it also takes your drive away from watching it. Ah well, you just watch the minutes go by and think about what would have happened if the film had actually gotten a sequel. Now That would have been dicey!
Overall, Red Dawn is a film that can’t break through the test of time to get me to recognize that it was a good film. It will have to be thrown to the wayside along with other classics like The Lord of The Rings and James Bond. The teacher at the school was one of the only characters that I found to be pretty interesting and he’s written out of the film right away. At least he stayed courageous from start to finish. He never showed any fear and that’s what I would expect from him. If you want to watch a war film..check out the Avengers. It’s like watching a war skirmish in New York since there is a lot of destruction and the heroes face extremely large numbers of aliens. Skipping this film will be one of the better decisions that you’ve made in a while!