Pretty Faces and Big Bangs, Not Much More

  Another holiday weekend means another round of movies to review.  I’m Robbie K with another review on the latest movie remake entitled Red Dawn.  For those of you who remember the 1984 war movie, you might wonder what was going on through Hollywood’s heads when they decided to remake this “classic”.  For me I had no answer, other than more money by putting guns in hot teenager hands.  However, I went in hoping that this movie would surprise me with something impressive that would make the price of admission worth it.  Did I get my wish?  Read on to find out

Just like its predecessor, Red Dawn focuses on a small American town that is rapidly occupied by a foreign military power, this time North Korea.  After parachuting in and establishing a military regime, a band of high school kids and one marine (Chris Hemsworth) ban together to fight the technology superb country in an effort to reclaim their city.  As noble as the plot seems, the idea that a bunch of kids with no combat experience can put up a major resistance is a bit of a stretch to most.  Nevertheless this film is a chronicle about how American Pride and cowboyism can be a deadly combination in fighting off bad guys.

So what would I say are the strongest aspects about this movie?  The answer is the action of course.  With the evolution of technology, also comes the evolution of action scenes, which some choose to ignore.  Red Dawn, however is one of those films that gladly takes advantage of pyrotechnics and CGI flashes to make guerilla warfare even flashier than before.  Like a Michael Bay film, Red Dawn has plenty of fiery explosions to start off a battle.  At the start, the action is very low key amounting to only a few chases and a small round of gun fire.  As the movie progresses, the action picks up going from skirmishes to full on shoot outs that will get any action junkie nodding their heads in satisfaction.  Unfortunately many of these battles last less than a minute, so don’t think you’re getting ten minute fights with every confrontation.  Keep in mind though that this movie does have a really good battle near the end that lasts for a decent amount of time to quench your holiday thirst for action.  You might be asking now, “Robbie if these battles are short lived, what makes me want to keep watching the film?”  The answer is simple, the uncertainty as to which characters are going to live through this ordeal.  Red Dawn’s story team made it difficult to predict which character, if any, would get whacked, only having one or two obvious picks for who wouldn’t live to see victory.  This connection to the characters helps the audience member add their own suspense that makes the action scenes a little more emotional to the movie.

Unfortunately these characters are very shallow in this movie, with very little development taking place outside of the two brothers.  Yes, my friends the cast for this movie was chosen more for their looks than for actual character development, most likely to bring in more audience members.  Cast members like Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, and    Chris Hemsworth are playing the “macho” men, more being used for eye candy/ fame to drive people into the theater.  To help get males further interested in the film, they put beautiful women like Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, and Alyssa Diaz in to help appease the good look category for the males.  I’m not saying their bad actors at all, but the directors got away with the shallow characters, by putting these big name faces in.  Now this wouldn’t have been as bad, had they not sacrificed action for their rather useless background history.  Many of the lulls in action are quips where we learn one or two tales about what the teens did when they were younger, which is really kind of pointless in the grand scheme of things.  The only meaningful information comes from between the brothers, Peck and Hemsworth characters, who reveal the tension and rivalry you see in the movie.  Regardless, fans are going to be rooting the characters not based on their morals, but by their looks and previous movie history.

Aside from these two things, Red Dawn really doesn’t offer too much more in the movie department.  The fact that a technologically strong country like North Korea doesn’t have better armor for their troops is complete fiction and makes the threat of the enemy a little less intimidating.  Throw in the fact that the kids can shoot better than the troops, and well you get a classic American cowboy film that further pumps up someone’s ego.   Aside from American pride, this movie also has a vague ending just like its 80’s precursor that sets the stage for both ending and opens up for another movie.  Whether or not this sways your vote I can’t tell, but I’m just warning you that there is no definite closure to this film.

Overall Red Dawn is a glorified video game brought back to the theaters.  The action again is decent for most of the movie, though could have been longer for my tastes.  However, again its mostly people coming in to see model like teenagers toting guns and rooting for their favorite new generation star to survive the day.  Is it worth a trip to the theater?  Probably not, but is worth picking up a copy at Netflix/RedBox when it comes out.  My scores for this movie are the following:

Action:  7.0-7.5

Movie Overall:  6.0-6.5

Until then my friends I’m signing out.  This is Robbie K saying enjoy the movies and please continue to provide constructive feedback by contacting rkarim11@su.edu.

Thanks

 

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