DVD In Review: Red Dawn

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Synopsis In this thrilling re-boot of the original 1984 cult classic, a determined band of vigilantes face the very real threat of an invasion by North Korea. It follows brothers Jed (Chris Hemsworth) and Matt (Josh Peck) who are forced to face a strange new world alone as their hometown awakens to the surreal sight of North Korean paratroopers dropping from the sky – the U.S. has been invaded.

Quickly and without warning, the citizens of Spokane, Washington, find themselves prisoners and their town under enemy occupation. Determined to fight back, a group of young patriots seek refuge in the surrounding woods, training and reorganizing themselves into Guerrilla fighters. Taking inspiration from their high school mascot, they call themselves the ‘Wolverines’, banding together to protect one another, liberate their town from its captors, and take back their freedom.

Review: “War is hell” was a quote made by General William Tecumseh Sherman during  his address to the graduating class of the Michigan Military Academy (19 June 1879). And this movie does fairly well to capture that hell and the indomitable spirit needed to fight back in spite of losing family and friends in the process.

A reboot of the cult 1984 film, which starred the likes of Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen. This new version does a fairly good job of capturing the spirit of the original, but also stands on its own as a perfectly watchable and entertaining movie.

Much like the original you see a band of kids become a Guerrilla army that causes a lot of trouble for the invading enemy solders. In fact a line of dialogue from the film  pretty much sums up the fine line between right and wrong when at war. Jed tells his brother that when he served as a Marine in Iraq he was a source of order and justice trying to bring a sense of order, but as a Guerrilla leader and solder fighting to reclaim his home from an invading force he has to become a source of disorder and make life as difficult and as bloody as possible for the invading force in the hopes that they become discouraged and leave.

Which brings to mind the old saying that one man villain is another mans hero.

Like the original Red Dawn. This newer version doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to depicting the reality and ugliness of war.

At the start of the film Jed and his brother witness their own father executed in front of them for standing up to the invaders by speaking out against them.

We also see the two brothers butt heads a fair few times as well as the Wolverines struggle to initially work together as they struggle to put aside their own selfish wants and needs in order to pull together as a solid unit and fight the enemy on their own terms.

One thing you see more in this movie than you did in the original is those who live in the city under the oppressive thumb of the invaders doing what they can to help the Wolverines. In the original this wasn’t seen as much.

All the actors did a great job of their roles and I really enjoyed the fact that the film doesn’t take the easy way out of letting all the heroes live, but instead having the deaths of the various Wolverines rally more people to the cause and redouble their determination to win back their home.

The new version of Red Dawn does a great job of working with the premise of the original movie, and manages to pul it off and do a respectable job of things. I really enjoyed the film and found myself actually caring about this new set of characters just as much as I did for those in the original 1984 film.

When released the reviews for this were pretty dire in that they slated the movie for its lack of originality and for being nauseatingly patriotic. On the first point I agree. It’s not original, but what is original these days. Even an original story takes its inspiration from what as come before. I’d also point out that it is not a direct word for word scene for scene remake either.

On the point of the film being nauseatingly patriotic. So what. I’m British and here in the UK it seems to be a trend in our media as well as among people to look at patriotism and pride in ones country as somehow wrong. I personally have never fully subscribed to this point of view.

I enjoyed the fact that this film was patriotic. In fact I felt this movie showed the more positive side to being patriotic and wasn’t a film depicting patriotism for the sake of patriotism.

The movie also does a great job of showing that patriotism comes at a cost and can sometimes be ugly.

 

Red Dawn will be released on DVD and Blu Ray on Monday 8 July across all good UK retailers and online stores

 

Written By: Ian Cullen

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Ian Cullen is the owner of scifipulse.net. A wannabe musician. Ian is a legend in his own mind and when not working on the website host the hugely successful SFP-NOW Podcast he can be found skulking around empty corridors. A longtime fan of genre television and movies Ian was also a producer on the Reality On Demand web-series and has even been published in the official Star Trek Magazine.

 

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