'Red Dawn' is the 2012 remake of the 1980's classic with a slew of impressive actors, including Chris Hemsworth of 'Avengers' fame and Josh Hutcherson from every early 2000's title that required a young boy (and obviously 'Hunger Games'). Filmed in Michigan and filled with the epic freedom fighting that Americans love to watch, this movie was set to be gripping.
That is why the reality is so disappointing.
The film starts off with a slide show of clips showcasing the increasing threat of the North Koreans, the central antagonists. Though it may have drawn on a bit too long, this was actually an interesting way to establish the issue without sacrificing precious screen time.
After this, the movie jumps headlong into the story in a way that is not beneficial. Jed (Hemsworth) is a former Marine back from Iraq. Matt (Josh Peck) is his younger brother who plays football for the Wolverines. Characters are introduced and whisked off screen before anyone even registers their name. In fact, it is quite easy to go through the entire movie without realizing who someone is or how they are connected to the others. Several people die, both on and off screen, and the audience is left more confused then mournful.
Aside from the bad character development, much of the motivations are never properly explained. North Korea invaded this small city, which is never established to have a military base or any sort of tactical advantage, for absolutely no discernible reason. Then they proceed to imprison citizens, complete with orange jumpsuits, while leaving others to carry on their normal routine with no more issues than the occasional militarized checkpoints. It seems that the entire point of the invading army is to challenge the rebel fighters made up by Jed and his band of high school students.
Applying credit where credit is due, there are plenty of fire fights and explosions in this film, but the audience is never on the edge of their seat or biting their nails in anticipation. The director, Dan Bradley, is a stunt coordinator for movies like Independence Day and the Bourne series. With credentials like that, the action sequences should pack more of a punch.
In the end, Red Dawn doesn't leave much of a lasting effect on the audience and it is hardly worth the $3 price to rent it.