Red Dawn

Red Dawn

What She said:


Let me start by saying that the only reason I watched this movie was because there’s a remake coming out with Chris Hemsworth in it, plus they were talking about the original on the radio that same morning.  I felt like it was fate, so when I saw this on TV, I actually took the time to sit down and give it a thorough viewing.

Unfortunately, it was virtually impossible for me to give this a real thorough viewing because after a half hour or so, I found it excessively boring.  I guess all the fighting and explosions should have kept me awake, but for some reason I found this super painful to get through.  FX went to commercial about every 30 seconds, which stretched the runtime from around 2 hours to 2 hours and 45 minutes, so maybe that was part of the issue.  Seriously FX, you should be ashamed of yourselves.  The movie also suffers from some of the worst acting I’ve seen.  And that’s a real shocker because it stars some pretty big names like Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey, and Lea Thompson.  Of course, they were all pretty early in their careers, so maybe they didn’t quite have the experience they needed yet.   Either way, there was a lot of crazed yelling, unconvincing sob sessions, and bro-hugging.

Red Dawn

Oh yeah, let me tell you a little about the storyline.  It’s about a group of teenagers who take to the woods when the Cuban and Russian militaries join forces to attack the U.S.  The kids hide out up in the mountains and begin to use guerrilla warfare tactics to fight back.  Ultimately, they want to take down the invading militaries and reclaim their land, and their lives.  But let’s face it.  It’s a handful of teenagers versus an entire army.  Not…gonna…happen.  Anyway, the kids have to deal with the difficulties of losing their families and all that is familiar with them, while also mustering the courage to start an uprising.  There are tons of standoffs between the Wolverines (that’s what they call themselves) and the bad guys. 

The kids seem pretty smart.  Shame the general plot, dialogue, acting, soundtrack, and cinematography aren’t.  Maybe I’m being a little hard on this movie.  Perhaps if it was 1984, and I was 14 years old, I’d think this was awesome.  But that’s a no and no.  So, I have to say, save yourself the boredom and pass on this one. 

Thumbs down.


What he said:


Red Dawn has a lot of elements that I should like. First, it was made in the 80s and I love me some 80s cheese. 80s movies had both heart and cheese. You are totally aware of the fact that what you’re watching is corny, but they were usually done in a super motivational or heartwarming way, and it made you want to go out and take on the world. Additionally, this movie is about a bunch of teenagers taking on an invading army, which is definitely something that appealed to me a kid. I loved my action figures growing up, but there was nothing like pretending that you were the hero. I remember dressing up in camouflage, grabbing one of my toy guns, bow and arrow (I owned one of these), or some other pretend instrument of destruction and taking out imaginary bad guys with your friends. It was imagination at its finest. So, Red Dawn had all the elements of something that I would have loved growing up.

In the small town of Calumet, Colorado students sit in a class on what seems like your average fall day, until soldiers begin raining down into the open fields all over the town (and throughout other parts of the country). There is mass confusion until this invading army opens fire on civilians and makes this nightmare a realization.

Red Dawn

A bunch of them – led by Patrick Swayze’s character – flee to the mountains with a bunch of supplies courtesy of his father’s sporting goods store. They make camp there for a while until they decided to venture into town one day. They find that the town is being controlled by Soviet and Cuban forces.  Some of the town’s folk are able to go about their normal business, but under martial law. Others have been thrown into prison camps. It is here, where they discover the ones in the camps are being executed. This lights a fire under their hormonal asses and sparks their little revolution. They are later joined by a couple of girls (Jennifer Grey and Lea Thompson) and a U.S. soldier (Powers Boothe) who crash landed in occupied territory.

I never saw this growing up and think I was in my early 20s by the time I finally did see it. I had heard of it, knew some people who liked it, and thought it always sounded like something I would have liked. So when a copy of it made its way into my hands, I decided to give it a chance. Even though I had not seen it before, I was looking forward to seeing something I thought would make me feel like that little kid with his Nerf bow, plastic grenades, and kid-sized fatigues.

I was pretty underwhelmed by the movie and never bothered seeing it again. With the remake hitting theaters, the original has been making the rounds on TV lately. I had not seen the original since my first viewing and needed something else to review for the week, so I decided to give it another chance. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel any better about this movie. In fact, I might have disliked it even more. You know, it’s not the fact that a bunch of teenagers take on armies from two countries that bothered me. Guerilla warfare has proven itself to be a very resilient way of fighting superior forces. The execution is what bothered me. The movie is so poorly acted actually quite distracting. Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, and Jennifer Grey have all gone on to do better things, so we know they have the acting chops. But it just wasn’t there yet. That and/or the directing was lackluster. I have no idea if the remake is any good, but I don’t see how it could be much worse. This is a painfully bad movie.

Diagnosis: Thumbs down.

This movie was written for your reading pleasure on November 24, 2012.