By Taylor Finke
When I initially saw that someone was doing a remake of the 80’s cult classic ‘Red Dawn,’ I thought, “Okay, cool. I wonder if they can improve on it.” Then, as the reviews came out on the Internet, my heart fell as critics blasted it to pieces.
So before watching ‘Red Dawn,’ I was 100 percent convinced it was going to be terrible. I figured that, as a remake, it would be no better than the original. However, I actually ended up actually enjoying it.
The movie is mainly driven by action, and does not have much of a set plot. From the moment the paratroopers rain down onto Spokane, Wash., the brothers Jed and Matt Eckert, Chris Hemsworth and Josh Peck respectively, are thrown right in the middle of World War III. They manage to escape to the cabin in the forest with a group of teens who jumped in their pickup as it smashed through fences and evaded blockades of angry North Koreans. The group is betrayed, after the North Koreans execute the Eckert boys’ father, the group is resolved to cause chaos and destruction in order to save their town, and the American way of life. They take up their old high school mascot and become the terrorist group known as the Wolverines.
It is not an epic movie, nor is it a psychological thriller with any deeper message. I will not say that this movie is not full of grand, profound moments, except for the instant where Robert (Josh Hutcherson), after gunning down the enemies to save citizens from an execution, stands on a roof and triumphantly chants “Wolverines!” and the people in the street below join in. For the most part, this movie is simply action-movie fun.
While much of the movie revolves around fighting, there are a few humorous moments enough to deflect any deep sense of tragedy. This is certainly a divergence from the original film, where there is little to no comic relief.
I particularly enjoyed Josh Hutcherson and Josh Peck. I feel that despite his somewhat limited role, Hutcherson shone as the timid computer-whiz Robert Morris. I had never seen Josh Peck in any of his previous roles, but he portrayed the hot-headed younger brother Matt Eckert well. Chris Hemsworth is an honorable mention, as he gave a decent portrayal of the Marine Jed Eckert.
This movie does have flaws, and the one that bothered me the most was the camera work. During the most intense action scenes, the camera goes so wibbly-wobbly that even I got a little queasy.
Another major flaw was that the relationships were shallow and stereotypical, as is common with action movies. I wanted as strong a portrayal of the women Toni and Erica, as there was in the original. However, they were mainly used as superficial romantic fodder for Jed and Matt respectively.
Despite the flaws, I was not disappointed with the ending. I truly liked the hopeful, if slightly ambiguous, ending to the movie, as opposed to the original which was tragic and literally carved in stone.
All in all, ‘Red Dawn’ is a light, fun action movie. It is a flight of fancy, with outlandish events that separate it from the viewer as pure fiction. However, the eerie newsreel of actual footage from the beginning is enough to leave me wondering what really could happen.
Taylor Finke is a freshman. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.