Spokane is a small town in the state of Washington U.S.A. The residents there awake to find that their peaceful town has been invaded by the North Korean army intent of taking over the entire country. Evading capture, a group of young patriots, led by ex-soldier Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth) seek refuge in the woods and re-organise themselves into a makeshift group of guerilla fighters. Taking the name of their high school mascot, they call themselves “The Wolverines”, they band together to protect each other and take back their town and freedom.
Red Dawn is a re-imagining of the low budget, but rather raw and unflinching 1980’s film starring Patrick Swayze. In the original film, the United States are being overrun by the Russian army. Initially it was going to be the Chinese military that was overthrowing the townsfolk this time around, however as China is one of the biggest film markets in the world at present, half way through filming the villains were changed to North Koreans. I
It’s difficult to understand what the time frame is meant to be in the film – certain points (a super long training montage) seem to place this war to be going on for months, yet there are other scenes that suggest the bad guys have only been there a couple of days and are still trying to understand these darn American kids and their lingo. It’s also never said what is happening around the rest of the United States, whether it’s just Spokane that is under attack or the entire country.
This film was made before Chris Hemsworth got the lead in the Marvel film Thor. Not too many muscles then, but he does know how to use a gun – the problem is that it’s never explained what type of soldier he is and why he is back in town. There is so much back-story that never gets explained; instead it’s left to lots of loud bangs and explosions to take our minds elsewhere. But even these action scenes suffer as most of it seems so very one sided. We were surprised to see any of the good guys get hurt, yet all the bad guys are knocked off with either one shot or a blow to the head. The film is stuck between going all out for the killing and trying to keep it respectful for a teenage audience, it never sits well on either side.
Red Dawn is a very pro-American film but sadly this never hits any of the right steps to make it an interesting or testosterone fuelled action film in the vein of the Die Hards or Bourne films. The script is badly dis-jointed and lurches from one mismanaged set piece to another without any real information. It’s like watching young boys play a game of Army in their back garden, but less fun.