johnlink ranks RED DAWN (2012)

With all of the hoopla surrounding THE INTERVIEW over the last couple of weeks, I thought it might be interesting to visit another Hollywood movie which considers North Korea: RED DAWN. I saw the original for the first time a few years ago. It wasn’t bad. Not sure it needed to be remade. But when has that ever stopped a studio from remaking something anyway?


I watched RED DAWN (2012) on 12.22.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

North Korea invades the United States. We get to see a small town in the Pacific Northwest fight back, led by Marine Jed (Chris Hemsworth). He trains some other kids, they call themselves Wolverines, to engage in guerrilla warfare against the invading army.

RED DAWN, the remake anyway, has lots of problems. The logic of the film is mind-numbing (if they know who these kids are, why don’t they bait them out with their friends). The timeline of events is weird (I have no idea how much time passes through the course of this film). The motivations of the villains lacks any kind of layering (we never learn any motivation beyond their inherent evilness). The heroes train to beat soldiers in a short amount of time and then engage in professional firefights as if they had been training for years and then hide in buildings which are not very well concealed in the immediate aftermath of these attacks. The movie doesn’t seem to have an endgame until some new character show up and tell our heroes that they need to find a suitcase to help end the war.

This movie is fun in the action bits. It isn’t unwatchable. It just lacks any kind of depth whatsoever. It tries to earn some by killing off some of its heroes, but none of these moments are able to land with any impact. This is a movie which was made in 2010, was stuck in developmental hell for a couple of years, had the North Korean army inserted over the Chinese Army (the movie was shot with Chinese villains, but then they realized they couldn’t sell this movie in China if they did that). Nothing about this movie feels important or vital, but rather like everything was made merely as an easily digestible piece of action product.

Never would have thought of a movie like that as important, but in light of recent events with THE INTERVIEW, this movie somehow gains the slightest bit of importance as being a movie which was able to portray North Korea in a negative light without causing the US to be hacked and blackmailed. RED DAWN might be a frivolous piece of filmmaking, but I’m lucky to live in a country where this sort of frivolous filmmaking is allowed. We take that for granted until something like THE INTERVIEW happens.

None of that makes this a good movie. It is a distraction which feels rushed. It is as if it is slightly embarrassed to even exist, so it rushed right through it’s 90 minute runtime. Could you do worse? Sure. But there isn’t much reason to visit here.




FINAL SCORE: 4.5 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on December 23, 2014.

2 Responses to “johnlink ranks RED DAWN (2012)”

  1. Pretty bad. And not in a so-bad-it’s-actually-kind-of-fun way either. Just bad. Good review John.

  2. The first one was at least a little more relevant at the time. Russia seemed like a much bigger threat back in the Eighties than North Korea does today. That might be one of the reasons why the first one worked better for me than this one did. Nice review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: