At the dawn of the Hollywood golden age, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) was the studio at the pinnacle of filmmaking. With its recognizable lion mascot, the studio was known for elegant fare and had a fantastic reputation in the industry. As time went on, the studio went through a series of corporate restructurings and fell into chapter 11. It emerged from it with new leadership and an improved vision but unfortunately this impacted a few films that were on the studio’s slate.
One of them being Red Dawn. A remake of the ’84 classic that starred Patrick Swayze, this film (shot in ’09 and was supposed to be released in late ’10) follows a similar premise with a foreign occupation on American soil except it shifts from a sleepy Colorado town to Spokane, Washington. To keep it more modern, the villains were originally intended to be Chinese but were altered to North Korean compared to the original’s Russian and Cuban invaders.
Fair warning: if you’re expecting this to be an intelligent commentary on the United States role in American politics that just so happens to have lots of explosions then guess again. Just looking at the poster with its ridiculously good looking cast staring blankly at you with guns and held high and the American flag waving brightly in the background means that’s all you’re going to get.
The only recognizable face in the cast is Thor. Chris Hemsworth should be thanking the all mighty thunder god that both this and Cabin in the Woods came out after he sealed the deal with Marvel Studios. Playing a marine recently returned home, Hemsworth’s range goes from a steely gaze with North Koreans, occasional cursing and a steely gaze when talking with his fellow high school aged insurgents.
The rest of the supporting cast doesn’t add much to the overall simple story. Josh Peck of Drake and Josh fame,(years between the end of the show and filming this were very kind to him. The guy is hard to recognize) ,plays Hemsworth’s younger brother while Tom Cruise’s son Connor and The Hunger Games Josh Hutcherson playing one note roles add to this motley crew of America’s last hope.
Sadly, the two women featured prominently in the poster barely play a part. Isabelle Lucas, last seen as the creepy tongued robot from Transformers 2, plays Peck’s girlfriend who is remarkably well put together despite being held in a prison camp and living in a cave for a majority of the minute running time. Adrianne Palicki from Friday Night Lights plays Toni who never smears her makeup while firing rocket launchers and AK47s at the enemy. To add more insult to injury, the two women have a combined total of 20-22 lines in the whole film. Both women just were prey to a macho movie that should have balanced it out better. It’s a shame.
The plot is simple and predictable. The whole cast is one-note. They all just phone it in. Despite this, I still enjoyed it. I enjoyed it because I saw it for free. I recommend this only if you are extremely bored and need something to watch on Netflix in a few months. Much better movies are in theaters such as Spielberg’s Lincoln.