Red Dawn

"Weak"

Red Dawn Review


I wonder if someone tossed a copy of Red Dawn into Ronald Reagan's casket before they buried the old guy. I can't imagine a movie he would have loved more. A highly absurd Gipper-era relic, it makes the "Evil Empire" days of 1984 seem like a million years ago. Anyone under the age of 35 will watch this propaganda exercise about a terrifyingly successful Soviet invasion of small-town America and say, "Huh???"

Ignoring the outrageous jingoism for a minute, it should be noted that the movie does have plenty of forward momentum, starting from the moment when a bunch of Wyoming high schoolers (all '80s A- and B-list Brat Packers) look out their classroom window and see a huge number of paratroopers dropping into town. The soldiers who don't speak Russian speak Spanish. It seems that the Soviets have made a successful nuclear first strike (hey, that's cheating!) and have joined forces with ominously swarthy Cuban and Nicaraguan troops to storm a suddenly crippled America. The kids don't know all of this yet, though. All they know is that one of the soldiers has murdered their teacher right in front of them. Godless Commies!

Quickly hopping into their pickup trucks, the kids skedaddle home where they find that all the able-bodied men have been already rounded up for "reeducation" down at the local drive-in theater, which is now ringed in barbed wire. Grabbing an impressive arsenal of weaponry from their fathers' gun racks (remember: Wyoming is Dick Cheney country), the kids literally head for the hills and start to plan a guerrilla insurgency against this unacceptable new world order. Naming themselves the Wolverines after their school mascot, these letter-sweater jocks plot to take America back from the borscht-drinking savages who have the audacity to park their tanks right in front of McDonald's. A mix of football plays and old-fashioned American knowhow will serve them well.

Leading the pack is Jed Eckert (Patrick Swayze, a leathery 32 years old at the time) and his younger brother Matt (Charlie Sheen). Their buddy Robert (C. Thomas Howell) is along for the adventure as is Erica (Lea Thompson) and later on Toni (Jennifer Grey), along with a few others. As weeks and months pass, the gang devises all sorts of clever schemes to go back into town to visit their fathers in detention ("Avenge me!!!" shrieks Jed and Matt's father (Harry Dean Stanton)), to sabotage Soviet equipment, even to blow up the local Soviet headquarters. They rarely have adult assistance, except when they run into downed Air Force pilot (Powers Boothe), who fills them in on the sputtering war effort, including the interesting fact that the Chinese are on our side but the Russians have already killed 400 million of them. Yikes.

The kids grower braver, tougher, and ever more American. They face death, discomfort, and even a traitor in their midst. Will they have the nerve to execute an injured Soviet soldier they find. Hell, yeah! A bullet in the brain is sweet revenge, Ivan! Will the have the nerve to kill their own turncoat friend? On your knees, traitor! Hurl that grenade! Wave that flag! Tag the nearest wall: the Wolverines were here!

By the time World War III winds down, the Wolverines are the stuff of legend, national heroes who symbolize all that is right with American youth. The camera makes sweet love to the rock outcropping that serves as a memorial to their bravery and sacrifice. An American flag flaps forcefully in the Wyoming wind, and all that's left to do is to beat the wrecked Soviet tanks into plowshares.

See Red Dawn only when you're in the mood for a guilty pleasure. Snicker at the Ramboesque quotable quotes, and ponder the fact that ultimately America was able to conquer the Soviets even without the help of the Wolverines.

Wolverines need Happy Meals!



Facts and Figures

Run time: 93 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 21st November 2012

Box Office USA: $44.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $44.8M

Budget: $65M

Distributed by: Film District

Production compaines: FilmDistrict, Contrafilm

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 12%
Fresh: 16 Rotten: 115

IMDB: 5.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Jed Eckert, as Robert Kitner, as Erica Martin, as Toni Walsh, as Col. Andy Tanner, as Danny, as Mayor Jenkins, as Daryl Jenkins, as Julie, as Hodges, as Matt Eckert, as Tom Eckert, Julian Alcaraz as Greg, as Captain Cho, Fernando Chien as Lt. Pak, as Smith

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.