‘Red Dawn’ (2012) Review

by on January 25, 2014

in Entertainment, movie reviews

Red Dawn 2012 review

The Red Dawn remake opened in theaters on November 21st, 2012. It was originally slated to fail… I mean the script was optioned in 2008, went into pre-production in Apr of 2009. Filming started in late 2009 and was ready for release in 2010. But MGM’s financial problems got in the way. Distributor FilmDistrict picked up the tab and released the film.

The movie stars Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas and Connor Cruise. Originally the enemy in the film, like the original, was the Chinese army, but then the enemy was changed to the North Koreans so that they could release the film in China. (Big movie market there.)

It’s directed by Dan Bradley, stunt man, turned director. He’s had a string of ‘second unit director’ credits and this movie looks like his first stint as the main helmer. Movies he’s been associated with in one capacity or another are the Bourne franchise films, Spider-Man films and other big name genre films.

But this is his first directorial stint. That kind of noise always worries me about a film if I’m preparing to go see it in movie theaters.

The screenplay was written by Carl Ellsworth (Disturbia) and Jeremy Passmore (Special), and was (heavily) based on the 1984 original movie of the same name.

Red Dawn (2012) had an estimated $65M budget, and to date, it’s pulled in only $45M domestically.

The movie opens with a montage explaining an economic failure in Europe and how North Korea and Russia start to cooperate on various levels.

We join Marine Jed Eckert (Hemsworth) who is on leave in Spokane, Washington, visiting. While visiting, North Korea invades, rounding up the citizens of the town.

Jed and several high school students escape the attack and hide out up in the hills. Well, the hills that are higher than Spokane already is. They gather and decide to attack the Koreans back. But no one is trained or even adept at handling guns. But that’s OK, because Jed is here to train anyone who needs it!

With a montage of quickie clips of training, our youthful heroes become GI Joes and take it to the enemy. Too bad my imagination wasn’t captured by this “exciting” turn of events in the story.

In the third act, the action starts to pick up to an implied resolution of a sort, and rather than story, it was the action that took the cake. And a movie whose memorable moments, if that, were only the action scenes, well… you get the point.

To be honest, with the talent in this film, I’m surprised how flat it felt. Each scene felt predictable and basic.

But this movie was made long before any of their (Hemsworth, Hutcherson) bigger movies came out, but because of the MGM fiasco, was released after the fact. In fact, Hemsworth had a few movie releases that as time went on, he kept getting younger and younger in each. But fortunately, life in the entertainment industry, like most, is about who sees your work and who you know. Which was good for him, if you’re a Thor and Marvel movie fan.

Any way, back to the movie at hand, with the exception of one surprise development in the third act, I was pretty glad I was doing something else while watching Red Dawn.

I’d give this a remake a 5. Maybe a 6 because Hemsworth and Palicki were in it. Nah… Popcorn 5.

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