Red Dawn

I would've reviewed this movie sooner, but it took them two years to release it. Seriously. Filming wrapped sometime in 2010, but that was right around the time MGM started having financial troubles, so they couldn't afford to do anything with it. In the intervening time, two of the actors here ended up becoming abruptly much more popular, so maybe it didn't work out so badly for MGM after all. On the other hand, maybe it did, since I've just seen what imdb users are rating it.

Chris Hemsworth (Snow White and the Huntsman) wasn't even Thor yet when this picture was filmed, that's how much has changed. Here, he's just Jed Eckert, or in other words, the character Patrick Swayze played in the original. I don't know if Patrick's version of Jed was supposed to be in the military, but he is here, a Marine on leave between assignments. His younger brother is still Matt, this time played by Josh Peck, and his father (Brett Cullen) is a police officer.

Then North Korea invades. I know, it was Soviet troops in the original, and there are some Russian troops involved, possibly unofficially, but here it's North Koreans moving into the Pacific Northwest. When they first filmed the movie, though, it was Chinese troops invading. Somewhere in the intervening two years, someone realized that there were approximately 1.3 billion potential moviegoers in China, however, and they decided not to antagonize them. So during post-production, the Chinese became North Koreans. You'll note that no one ever says anything about North Koreans on-screen, with the exception of some news clips at the beginning, at least some of which were faked for the purpose.

Anyway, a group of teenagers bands together and hides out in the woods, using guerrilla tactics taught to them by Jed to harass the occupying forces, etc. Most of the characters from the first flick are still here, such as Robert, now played by Josh Hutcherson, who has since become wildly popular among teenage girls by playing Peeta in The Hunger Games. There's also Toni, aka Adrienne Palicki of Legion, and Erica, played by Isabel Lucas. She's Australian like Chris Hemsworth, and also played a deity, namely Athena in Immortals. Your MCND Fun Fact: They used to date.

Let's see. There's also Jeffrey Dean Morgan, trying to leave Jonah Hex behind, as Tanner, a former Marine now unceremoniously yanked out of retirement. Will Yun Lee of Total Recall plays Captain Cho, the acting prefect of the area, who isn't at all happy with having kid mercenaries around making him look bad. His parents are Korean, by the way, though he was born in the States, so he no longer has to pretend to be Chinese. He's also set to appear as bad guy Silver Samurai in The Wolverine, which is now filming. I thought that was cool, since the kid mercenaries here call themselves the Wolverines, after Matt's high school football team. Also, 'wolverines' is translated as 'vicious rodents' at one point when a character is speaking Korean.

And now I'm out of fun facts, and frankly, the rest of the movie... isn't all that great. I mean, it isn't horrible, and I'm willing to give it a three out of five, but I think that's mainly because I never saw the original and I don't have the nostalgia factor to contend with. So if you loved the original, for you I'll rate this one two and a half out of five. It gets sappy, though thankfully only briefly, and there are some good bits of acting and characters that I liked, but overall it never quite seems to hit its stride. And it's getting trounced by Twilight and Skyfall, but at least the latter is also an MGM film. So I guess it evens out.

Image: 
Matt, Robert, and Jed, top; Jed, Robert, and Matt, bottom.

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