Red Dawn is generic as it gets. And that’s the good part. The cinematography, pacing (especially in the first 55 minutes), and storytelling is cohesive as a Donald Trump speech – an incoherent rant. But for those that fantasize about living acting out a real-life Call of Duty videogame scenario, this could be your spastic wet-dream.
Instead of Russians invading, as seen in the original, we get the timely North Koreans, who have developed a super-weapon to disable all our technology and power (yet somehow a kid’s cell phone stays powered up for days). As an army parachutes in on Spokane, Washington, a group of high-schoolers (Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Connor Cruise, Edwin Hodge, Alyssa Diaz, and Isabel Lucas) go into hiding deep in the woods. Guiding them along is the fresh-out-of-the-army Jed, (Chris Hemsworth) and he half-ass trains this regime to combat the invading forces that are armed with tanks, machine guns, and explosives.
Weaving in-and-out of decimated buildings, the resistance becomes known as the Wolverines; and they begin to muster up a battle despite being severely outnumbered.
Being just 90 minutes in length, the script wastes little time in getting to the invasion and following battles. The “resistance” struggles with trust and fear, yet that doesn’t stop them for making life difficult for the well-trained forces that hold their town captive. It’s seriously an insult to the North Korean army; for if they ever see this, they may really unleash hell upon us, as the script makes them look like a bunch of fools when losing to untrained, which is to say technically under-developed, characters. And that’s because the script breezes through a training session in under 5 minutes and presto…this cram session has prepared teenagers for anything. At least 1991’s Toy Soldiers took the time to properly sell the audience a mismatch such as this could be competitive (even fantastical elements need some realistic foundation).
Within the last 35 minutes is when any fragments of a rationale/angle are introduced. And this is also the point when the script ushers in a handful of reinforcements led by Jeffrey Dean Rush as a marine captain. But don’t get fooled, because it’s just more of, “Quick, blow something up and shake the camera.” The filmmakers’ execution or style comes across like pre-teens who just snagged their first pack of fireworks.
As far as performances go, you have to give credit to Chris Hemsworth. He gave it his all, but the script he’s running in just didn’t provide him with any type of reinforcements.
Overall, Red Dawn kind of comes together in the last thirty minutes, but it’s too uniform and plain to conjure up any attachment or interest. And the zoomed in cinematography will suffocate you and therefore make you dizzy due to the constant shakiness. But this flick sure likes to blow crap up!