EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


November 24, 2012

'Red Dawn' comes across like a dangerous joke

Some of the most powerful movies are classified by how strongly they cause the viewer to think about the subject material.

The original “Red Dawn” presented the idea of a small American town being invaded by the Soviet Union and Cuba during Cold War tensions, while the remake pins the invasion on the North Koreans.

So yes, I thought about the subject matter, but this hardly makes “Red Dawn” a powerful movie. In fact, it’s about as weak and flimsy as a sheet of paper that reads “Imagine if America was occupied by another country.”

Sure, I’ll imagine it, but I’m still not going to be entertained by a piece of paper unless I can fold it up into a paper airplane and fly it far, far away from me—something I desperately wish I could have done with “Red Dawn.”

Nothing in this film stands out, nothing sticks, and nothing appears to be remotely inspired during its modest running time that feels like a lifetime. “Red Dawn” is entering into familiar territory with every step it takes — unsurprising, unremarkable, and ultimately unsatisfying.

Shelved since 2010 and a victim of reedits to change the occupying forces from Chinese to North Korean (because Americans can’t tell the difference, right?), “Red Dawn” reeks of ideas gone sour.

Intending to recreate the 1984 original in the mindset of post-9/11 America, “Red Dawn” misses all its targets and ends up pulverizing the audience with senseless propaganda of pumped-up American ideals.

And while I admire the story of a group of teenagers taking the invasion into their own hands and fighting back, the premise is implausibility at its finest. After sacrificing most of its logic, “Red Dawn” simply becomes another humdrum action flick about people with guns running around and fighting other people with guns.

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