Tuesday, December 18, 2012

RED DAWN Movie Review

All right, I guess it was inevitable that I make an "official" review of the movie RED DAWN. Which one? you might ask. Well, both. A couple of weeks ago I saw the remake, and I wrote what appears to be a highly agreed upon, very brief, review.
Well, I have had the DVD of the original movie from 1981, I believe, sitting in its cellophane wrapper for quite some time now, and having bought this new computer I'm typing this review on just last night, and wishing to try out the player, I popped in RED DAWN, with the simple intention of making sure it would play. Two hours later, I was done watching the movie.
That would  not have happened with the remake of this movie, starring Chris Hemsworth, for two reasons. One, I would have never owned that DVD, and two, if I had I certainly wouldn't have used it to test out my DVD player. I guess there are three reasons: If I had made the mistake of beginning to watch the remake I would quickly have thought better of it and turned it off. The only reason I watched it all the way through the first time is because I knew it just had to improve. WRONG.
All right. Let's admit this upfront: Critics also blasted the original RD, starring one of my favorite actors, Patrick Swayze, as Jed. They still do blast it. I, however, do not. Did it have its problems? Well, sure. Hollywood did make the movie, after all. Let's face it. Hollywood always has to be Hollywood. The story, about a group of high school kids and one high school graduate, played by Swayze, who escape into the forest after an enemy invasion of the Rockies, and from there conduct rebel warfare against the invaders, is full of action. Some of it is believable, some not. But far more of the original story is believable than the remake. The major problem is that in the original NO ONE involved in this group called the "Wolverines" had ANY reason to understand how to use missile launchers or automatic weapons of war, and yet they all used them throughout the movie, and generally with pretty satisfactory results. At least in the remake Chris Hemsworth, now playing Jed's part, was just out of the marine corps and could feasibly teach the others to use these weapons. That is unfortunately about the only thing the remake can boast over the original.
In the original, we had a darn good cast, in my opinion. Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen (whether you like him personally or not, he is still a good actor), Lea Thompson, Powers Booth, Ben Johnson, William Smith, and C. Thomas Howell. In the new movie they had . . . um . . . Chris Hemsworth. By the way, this movie was originally made in 2009 and has sat on the shelf since then, and it was AFTER the making of RD, not before, that Hemsworth was cast as THOR. Just a bit of trivia there.

Anyway, the characters in the original RD played very believable parts. They went from terrified kids, to hardened soldiers, and finally to worn-out vets who just wanted to die if that was the only way they could find true peace. They showed them passing through those different stages very believably. The remake forgot to address that. They also forgot to put any emotion into the remake. In fact, if anything I only wanted to punch Josh's young brother Matt in the face, not see him and Josh have touching moments together.

The action in the remake was choppy and annoying, often overbearing. The action in the original was tasteful, generally feasible (except, again, for the war scenes which no untrained force of high school kids could likely have carried out against trained armies, and if they hadn't suspended reality in that part, then there would have been no movie).

If you are going to spend money on RD, go rent or buy the original. Chris Hemsworth is an awesome guy to look at--a real man's man. But you are better off buying a poster of him and hanging it on your wall then wasting any of your time or money watching this lousy remake. Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen are still the kings of Red Dawn.

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