A Film Review of Red Dawn
I don’t post a whole lot about movies on this blog. I really don’t know why, though. I mean, I definitely watch enough films to legitimately write about them. I love movies, really, especially in the theaters. I think whatever movie you go to see, it’s always better in the theaters.
Back when I got my wisdom teeth yanked, and I had to lie low for a couple days, my dad introduced me to a 1980’s film called Red Dawn. It’s a movie that involves America being invaded by Russian and Cuban military forces. The film follows a group of teenaged kids as they attempt to survive the harrowing experience by, at first, striking out into the wilderness with whatever supplies they can gather, and then striking at the opposing military forces with guerilla tactics. The film, while bloody and brutal, tells the audience that heroism starts with the unlikely. And that fighting for a cause that you believe in can make all the difference, even if you’re just a bunch of teenagers. I really liked it when I saw it. I liked its messages, I liked the casting. I thought the acting was decent and I liked the score. I thought it was a pretty good film. And then, somewhat recently, I heard that someone was doing a 2012 remake.
I’m a bit tentative with remakes. I’ve seen enough of them to know how awful they can be. And besides that, they’re lack unoriginality. Still – I’d wanted to see this one. Odd, I know, but I’m funny that way. I didn’t even know it was hitting theaters this Thanksgiving, though, until I saw an ad in the newspaper. So I suggested to Dad and Matty that we make it a man-date and go to our nearest cinema to see it. Dad and I each had a four day holiday weekend, and thus we had time to go and do something fun like this. Both thought it was an excellent idea. We went yesterday, to a late afternoon matinee showing. It was fun just being with Dad and Matty. With Dad and I both working, we don’t see a whole lot of each other anymore. The experience was great, made even better by the fact that the movie was actually surprisingly decent. If you ask me, it was pretty-darn good. I hope I’m not being biased because I love Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, both of which starred, but I don’t think I am.
The story doesn’t differ a whole lot from that of the older ’84 film, but certain plot-points do. For instance: in this version it’s North Koreans, not Russians and Cubans, who are assaulting America. Story-wise, I thought the film held together really well. The actors all gave great performances, causing plenty of tear-jerker moments throughout the film. The score, composed by Ramin Djawadi, was incredibly moving as well. Red Dawn is an incredibly fast-paced film. It’s just about non-stop action from the start of the film, to the moment the credits begin to roll. And all the while, somehow, magically, there’s room for character-development and unexpected plot-twists. Sure, this is a remake, but the creators put just enough new material into it to make it surprising. Perhaps best of all, was the fact that the original Red Dawn’s primary messages were definitely the same in this 2012 remake. Fighting for something you believe in is worth the grit and grime. It’s worth the blood you bleed. Even when the odds are stacked against you, standing up against evil is worth the fight. Just because you’re not a hero in your own eyes, doesn’t mean your actions can’t make a difference. And really – should you stand firm, swaying not from what you believe is right, you will make a difference. These are the things the heroes of Red Dawn show us through their responses to the traumatic circumstances they experience. This 2012 Red Dawn remake tells the story that needs to be told today. The indifference of good people is a greater evil than depravity.
I enjoyed the film immensely. But it is only fair that I warn prospective viewers that Red Dawn has a good deal of foul language. And the violence, while fairly bloodless, is still realistic and gritty. Nonetheless, I thought the messages were very applicable and found the film surprisingly thought provoking.