'Red Dawn' - uninspiring and flawed
| Troy Ribeiro
There is something seriously wrong with "Red Dawn".
Set in a town called Spokane near Washington, the eerie parachute scene at the beginning of the film sets one's adrenaline soaring. After you realise that the town has been invaded by North Koreans, who hit the ground firing automatic weapons at its residents, the film loses its excitement for the viewer.
The mere premise of the film is flawed. You're supposed to believe that an extremely poor, third world country, North Korea attacks and invades a town in the United States! No logic or reason for the occurrence is offered to the audience. To top it, the mighty US military or its air force is missing in the action. Is that possible?
Also, it's hard to tell what the game plan is here for the Koreans, since Spokane is not the strategic centre of anything. But that's not really the concern of director Dan Bradley or writers Jeremy Passmore and Carl Ellsworth.
Instead, they focus on a group of local teenagers, led by Jeb Eckert, a US Marine, who is at home on leave. The group bonds together after learning that their parents have either been executed or imprisoned by the invaders. They call themselves Wolverines, after their high school's mascot. They decide to train themselves, through a mini boot camp, following which they launch an insurgency. They set up ambushes and hit-and-run attacks to destabilize the occupying forces and, in their leader Jeb's words, "create chaos".
"Red Dawn" is a remake of the 1984 film starring Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Charlie Sheen and Lea Thompson. The remake also boasts of a good cast, with Chris Hemsworth ("Thor") as Jed Eckert, Josh Peck ("Drake & Josh") as Jed's younger brother Matt and Josh Hutcherson ("The Hunger Games") picking up where Swayze, Sheen and the others left.
It also stars Connor Cruise in a fair enough performance as the mayor's son, Daryl.
But sadly, this remake is even more ridiculous than the original.
Filled with lots of cliches and forgettable performances oscillating between military action and emotional drama, director Dan Bradley's maiden venture is one big predictable mess.
This one falls short, on a lot of fundamental levels; starting with the action scenes, there's no real story, just a series of fire fights and skirmishes. The plot itself lacks logic and pacing to flesh-out characters.
On the technical front, the shaky camera work is meant to be an excuse for the war scenes, but unfortunately they're not convincing. Poor editing often leaves the viewers confused about the placement of the fighters. With only a single declaration of 'Call of Duty', the film also suffers from a severe lack of motivation or self-awareness.
Only if the attack wasn't by an invading army but, instead, a surreptitious one by a terrorist group, like the one Mumbai experienced on 26/11 in 2008, "Red Dawn" would have been a much more plausible bet.
Critic: Troy Ribeiro
1 out of 5 (Poor)
WHAT THE RATINGS MEAN:
0.0 - 1.4 : Poor
1.5 - 1.7: Poor, A Few Good Parts
1.8 - 2.3: Average
2.4 - 2.9: Fairly Good
3.0 - 3.4: Good
3.5 - 5.0: Very Good