Verdict: 1 / 5
“We inherited our freedom. Now it’s up to us to fight for it”. That’s just one example of the cringe-worthy patriotic dialogue you can expect from the videogame-lite Red Dawn, a remake of the long forgotten and overrated John Milius 80s flick of the same name. Just when you thought Hollywood’s glut of remaking classics was over, there comes yet another cheese-fest, a regrettable film that Chris Hemsworth (the only talent here) signed on for when he was still an unknown. Originally set with a 2009 release date and a Chinese invasion plot, Red Dawn, one of the many films delayed by MGM’s financial problems, was repackaged and thanks to some post-production editing redirected as a Korean invasion instead. Despite a few exciting action sequences it falls completely flat, no thanks to a few annoyingly bad performances and a ridiculous (yes, completely ridiculous) plot.
“North Korea? It doesn’t make any sense!” explains Josh Peck, arguably one of the most painfully annoying actors playing one of the most brain numbingly annoying characters in recent memory. If I could point the blame of this film’s failure to anyone or anything, I would direct my finger straight at him and his awfully undeveloped whinny character. Then again, most of the acting here is pretty atrocious, a given considering the poor dialogue, highly unbelievable characters and their ill-thought out scenarios. Had it not been for Chris Hemsworth, Red Yawn would have been a guaranteed direct-to-video release. Following his success as Thor in Avengers and Cabin in The Woods, the Hollywood big shots pulled this one out from development hell.
Hemsworth plays Jed Eckert, an emotionally challenged war veteran on a visit home to his strong-and-silent police dad and immature little brother, Matt (Josh Peck). The two brothers, who don’t often see eye-to-eye, find themselves waking up to an invasion by North Korean soldiers. Instinctively, they ride off in search of their father and then to save their friends. Amidst the car chases, shoot-outs, and on the edge action sequences, they discover other teenagers on the run. Together they form The Wolverines (named after the local football team), and single-handedly do what the U.S. military supposedly can’t – train, form a plan, attack and kill the North Korean soldiers. “Dude, we’re living Call of Duty and it sucks,” explains one of The Wolverines.
Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas and Alyssa Diaz provide the girl power, while Josh Hutcherson and Conner Cruise contribute to the man power. And while the cast looks pretty playing with guns, they are also completely unbelievable. Red Dawn is clearly aimed at the Twilight generation who cares more about the good-looking cast than about a sensible plot.
See it if you must, but the terrible, cheesy ending will leave a bitter taste in your mouth.