Doomer Doug saw the original “Red Dawn” way back in 1984 in a theater. Doomer Doug has just returned from watching the modern “remake” at the Regal Cinema in downtown Portland. The idea Regal would show the movie “Red Dawn” in downtown Portland is bemusing to put it mildly. If the people in Portland were any bluer, they would be Smurfs At any rate, Doomer Doug had a private showing of “Red Dawn” in a small screen, 60 seat theater. Doomer Doug was the only person watching the 12.10 pm matinee showing.
Doomer Doug thinks if people go to see “Red Dawn” expecting a remake of the original they will not like it. However, if they go with the idea the new version is an interpretation of the 1984 classic, they will like it. I liked the new version. I am somewhat surprised I did, but I really did. There are several points we need to get out of the way up front. This is not the 1984 version. It lacks the chemistry between Charlie Sheen and Patrick Swaze. It lacks the political atmosphere of John Milnus’ version. It also lacks the jocks with guns fighting the Ruskies background the 1984 version had. Again, if you can get past that, this movie has some things going for it.
You also have to suspend belief and accept two basic ideas related to this version. The first is the EMP, electro magnetic pulse, renders the USA helpless against the invaders. I think this is credible. The second is you need to understand the main bad guys, the North Koreans, are there for PC reasons. The movie does show Russian Spenstaz troops. The movie implies the Russians have conquered the US east coast. It also implies that North Korea has gotten help from “others.” The others are not named, but you realize they are hinting at Chinese help. Of course, the Chinese were the original bad guys. They threatened to ban MGM from the Chinese market if that wasn’t changed.
Bottom line, if you can get past all that the new version has some appeal. Doomer Doug found the action sequences to be superior in this version to the 1984 one. Doomer Doug found the new version to be much darker, realistic, and more in tune with life in 2013. I do not think the chemistry between the two brothers was anywhere near the level of the original. They came across as a bit whiny to Doomer Doug. On the other hand, the depiction of actual insurgent combat was very well done. In particular, several of the performances by the supporting actors regarding the true costs of combat were very nicely done. I also felt the movie got the combat mostly correct. It got the training correct. And finally, I think it portrayed the sacrifice these ‘Wolverines” made much better than the original movie. There were several scenes, for instance where the Wolverine with the RFID chip makes a fatal decision, that were very well done.
I paid $8.50 to see this movie. I avoided the usual crowd situation since Doomer Doug had his own private screening. Doomer Doug also thought Hollyweird avoided the usual PC, anti American drivel common to the movies it makes. Red Dawn is a very patriotic movie. It does not despise the US military. It does not despise the concepts of honor, sacrifice or patriotism. It is a very rare Hollyweird movie in that one fact alone.
Doomer Doug will suggest people see the new version of “Red Dawn.” As long as you realize it is a new version set in the context of modern America, you will like it.