Looks like it’s time for round 2 for Red Dawn. The original got a reboot and now we can see if America could put up a better fight with the modern technology that we have at our disposal. Spoiler alert….America doesn’t fare all that well. While it’s a decent film for the most part, I can’t say that Red Dawn is really my style and the premise is completely unbelievable, although I’ll get into that in a second.
The main characters are enjoying the city life and having fun when the film starts off. Matt ends up losing his team the game, but he gave it his all and that’s what counts. His brother Jed is finally back from being abroad at war and it’s a good thing that he is. See, Korea and Russia have launched an attack against the US of A and we lost big time. The kids must now form a band called the Wolverines and strike back at the oppressors with their experience in warfare and combat. Can they really liberate the greatest country in the world?
Well, let’s go back to the premise since that’s the part that I can’t buy into. See, America is the greatest country in the world and no one can stop us. We have friendly ties with several countries like France and Great Britain, but even if they wouldn’t help us through such an attack, we’d be okay. Would they help us if we got invaded by Korea? I like to think so since it was an unprovoked attack and they would want to get in on the action and spoils of war before the enemies came after them.
Back to the America is for winners part. Apparently, all it takes is a well placed super EMP to take us out of the picture. Without our tech, America simply isn’t very tough and we were defeated in roughly a day. That’s….embarrassing to be honest. America loves its tech, but we also have the best defenses for it and they can’t be permanantely shut off so easily. Moreover, the enemies have closed circuit technology so that they can communicate…and we don’t? Booooooo. America is prepared for all eventualities and we wouldn’t have lost.
At most, they could maybe take a state or two, not 42. We would quickly win them back, turn our tech back, and then nuke the place. America cannot be defeated and we quickly proved this in World War II. Once America got involved, it was essentially Game Over for the enemies. So, this film really feels like propaganda from the enemy. I had this thought during the original one as well and it makes you wonder how this film got into theaters. Freedom of speech and films of course, but we don’t want the American people to get the wrong idea or for the enemies to take this as a challenge to attack. While not as politically controversial as that comedy film about Korea recently, this one’s still not quite as patriotic as you would hope.
There are still patriotic themes of course as the kids take out quite a few enemy soldiers and continue to blow up their bases. It shows that we will never give up and Americans will always have their freedom, but that should have been applied to the whole country, which is why we shouldn’t have lost. America fights hard and they fight to win. That’s how it’s always been and the only way to take us out is with Global Destruction. A mutual nuclear attack would do the trick and then it would be game over.
Naturally, this film is pretty dark given the serious themes that are at play the whole time. Characters drop off one after the other and the heroes are put in many tricky circumstances with people that they can’t always trust. It’s a film that will keep you interested from start to finish, but not one that is really fun to watch. It is fairly realistic as people go through these situations in other countries and in our past, but that’s part of the reason why it turns out to be a film that you won’t find very enjoyable.
There is a twist at the end to keep things real and all films need a twist of some sort nowadays. It’s expected and it adds more drama for the sequel. The event in question definitely comes suddenly and the film did a good job of not being obvious about it although the foreshadowing did start to get a little iffy as the heroes were having too much of a good time. You have to have nerves of steel at that point since everyone is dying so you learn to be able to get decently happy very quickly since you don’t know how long the peace will last. Still, they should have kept moving.
Jed’s a really good main character and the film does a good job of making him likable. The main gripe with him is just how much beer the guy drinks. It certainly won’t help him when he’s out in a firefight. Luckily, the guy has a lot of experience in the field and he really ends up helping the team a lot. Without him, it’s safe to say that the heroes may have been a little out of their league. Matt is not nearly as good. I really didn’t like his character from start to finish. His first appearance has him crumbling during the end of a football game and it seems like he barely cares. He just heads out to have fun with his girlfriend and really acting like one of those throwaway characters from any film or show. He’s the kind of guy that you just don’t like and the film tries to correct that later on, but it’s too little too late. He abandons the team and disobeys orders when he feels like it without any real remorse.
Most of the other characters are here to remind us that this is serious business and not for the faint of heart. The guy who lacked will power steals the food and betrays the heroes to the enemy. The surest way to tell who isn’t a real American is to find the guy who betrays you to the other country. That’s just sad and I’m pretty sure that the guy didn’t live through the experience. The other characters are typically all right or a little on the not cool side. Matt’s girlfriend certainly did not help him become likable and I thought that she was a bit much the whole time. Jed’s friend was much better as she was more reserved and dedicated to the cause.
The writing seemed to be decent as there was only one piece of unnecessary language that I noticed, but I saw this on TV so they helped the film out a little by covering this area. I don’t know how much or how little they cut, but that’s always nice of them. The film was over in a flash and felt way under 2 hours. That’s probably a good thing as short and sweet has actually been working out quite well lately. If you’re as good as Man of Steel or Avengers, then go for as long as possible. Otherwise, go for a shorter route.
Overall, This Red Dawn is better than the first version. The main character is easily the best person in the film and he puts the other guys to shame. It’s too bad that Matt couldn’t be quite as good. The film is pretty careful in terms of violence and while a lot of things happen to the heroes, it’s never as intense as in the original. That being said, the premise is still as unbelievable as ever. America simply doesn’t lose like that and this is the kind of film that shouldn’t be given a theater release without some kind of propaganda video before it to pump us up. At the very least, we should have had an epilogue about how we ultimately won the war and crushed everyone. It was neat to see the Marines and they actually looked impressive in this version, but they sure tried to be as unlikable as possible at times. If you like war films where the underdogs have to fight against large odds check this out. If you want a lighter film where America owns the world, check out The Avengers! Now that film shows us the determination and skill of The American people!