Red Dawn is a movie directed by Bradley, Dan and written by Carl Ellsworth, Jeremy Passmore, Kevin Reynolds, and John Milius that was released in 2012. It is important to note that the film released in 2012 is a remake of a similarly titled film released in 1984. This movie feature prominent actors in its cast including Josh Peck (Matt), Chris Hemsworth (Jed), Josh Hutcherson (Robert), Isabel Lucas (Erica), Brett Cullen (Tom), Connor Cruise (Daryl), and Adrianne Palicki (Toni). In summary, this War film portrays an American City waking up to an invasion by Koreans seen through the paratroopers that drop from the sky. It centers on a group of young people who call themselves wolverine led by Jed and his team who struggle to defend their country from the North Koreans. The wolverines train and hide themselves in the woods with an aim of protecting each other and gaining freedom of their town. Ideally, the central theme in the movie is the action and decision made by the group to fight for the home family and country. Additionally, a sub-theme is the reconciliation between Jed and his brother Matt. Red Dawn is an action movie that involves a lot of fighting and shooting between the wolverines and the Koreans who have held Americans captive. Several films that have been released over the years that are similar to Red Dawn and one that is notable is Olympus Has Fallen. Evidently, Red Dawn was written targeting young boy aged 13 to 20 years old who enjoy playing video games. This is because the movie setting involves a group of young boy who engages in fights on behalf of their country, which is the story line in most video games. The advantage of this film is that it question how prepare any country such as America can be during an invasion. Security matters are main concerns facing nations, which are addressed carefully. Even so, the film focuses on the town that they young characters want to set free and ignores other parts of America. After watching the movie, I found it to be very interesting and fun. I liked it because it raised several questions including the issues of foreign invasion, freedom, and liberty of Americans. However, the movie lacks originality since it is a remake of a previous film.
The movie Red Dawn opens with an introductory showing an economic crisis in the European Union is presented with the weakening of the NATO alliance. Concurrently, North Korea and Russia are becoming allies and strengthening their military operations. The increase in the number of U.S. troops abroad does not sink well in countries including North Korea. In the opening scene, a normal day at a high school football game follows on the next day with interruptions from bombs and gunfights from a North Korean aircraft that flies overhead dropping paratroopers. On the same day, Jed who is a U.S. marine reunites with his father and brother Matt who is a player in the high football game. Jed and Matt who are later joined by other teens who witness the invasion and full of tension they decide to resist the troops. The Korean soldiers try to persuade Jed and his team to surrender but they adamantly decline. Jed states his intention to fight and the others back him up forming the group the wolverines. This group acquires weapons and begins guerrilla attacks against the troops. Sadly, the group loses one of their friend Greg and in another bombing by the North Koreans, Julie and Danny is killed. In an encounter with the head of the marine Andre Turner and his colleagues, inform the wolverines that North Koreans were been assisted by Russia and they used electric weapons to invade America. Citizens on the other hand had begun campaigns and demonstrations dubbed “Free America.” Towards the end, Jed is killed during an ambush and the rest of the team manages to escape. After Jed’s death Matt take over as the leader and tries to convince other to join him in his fight to free the people from his town in which he succeed to do. He raids the North Korean hiding sites and set several camp on fire managing to set free several prisoners.
In my opinion, Red Dawn manages to raise a number of important political and security issues. Additionally, the movie has moral lessons including personal sacrifice, unity, and forgivingness. Even so, I believe that film lacked a strong theme considering it was filled with violence. Things unfold so fast in the film and the invasion does not seem to have been planned. It takes little or no time before North Koreans succeed to capture Americans. Most reviews received by the film were negative starting with Roaten tomatoes who state that, “The rebooted Red Dawn lacks the original’s topicality, but at least pays tribute in delivering the same short shrift to character development and general logic.” In another review of the film by Oslen, Mark, Los Angeles Times indicate that it was, “ Reasonably dopey fun on its own, the remade Red Dawn simply can't stand up to the real-world issues it steps on like a land mine” (para. 1). An article on the New York Times by Manohla, Dagris indicates that “Bradley handles the low-fi action well, which helps divert attention from the bargain-bin special effects, bad acting and politics” (para. 2). Adelmann, Bob positively notes in his blog that “Red Dawn is a rousing, exciting war movie about Americans fighting for American liberty” (para. 2). In most of comment and reviews, I read about the film the reviewers were comparing the film to its earlier version as seen in LA times’ comment. The remake film did not meet the expectation of several viewers especially in terms of the acting and content. Even so, the film seems to excite several individuals as seen in these reviews highlighted. These opinions are ill intended to some extent considering that the film was not trying to copy the previous film. Its purpose was to do a remake and come up with new ideas that were not in the original film.
After watching several film that are similar to Red Dawn and other films that the featured cast have acted, I strongly believe that the acting was poor. Chris Hemsworth has done much better acting than he did in his role as Jed in Red Dawn. The cast does not seem to understand their role including in about the 40 minutes mark of the film where Matt seems so confused. I agree with the review in New York Times, which clearly states that the film had ‘bad acting.’ Roaten tomatoes also indicate that the film had ‘awful acting.’ All these review including my own remarks are based on the chosen cast and Bradley. Other than Hemsworth (Jed) known well for the films Thor and Avengers, all the other members of the cast were picked from teen shows such as Josh Peck who was part of the nickelodeon series Drake and Josh. None of the actors in the film managed to meet their roles requirement. Matt takes over as the leader of the Wolverine after Jed dies but his leadership skills are not so convincing. In one scene, Robert who is Josh Hutcherson (also Peeta-philes in the film hunger games) exclaims ‘Wolverines!’ while he fires a big machine gun. This sounds so young and childish considering it is an action movie.
Bradley is a well-known director of stunt action films but he managed to appropriately handle low-fi action directing in the movie Red Dawn. As such, viewers manage to overlook the poor acting because of the good special effects in the film. However, there is so much gunfire and violence in this film that viewers might get lost and take it for a thriller and not an action movie. Additionally, the events unfolding and period are very confusing. It takes a very short time for the Koreans to manage to transport very heavy weapons and come up with a game plan. The director uses young actors in the remake film and this does not work out so good for the storyline. The cinematography is so frenetic and it appears as though the camera was shaking (Uber-shaky style) as seen in the opening on the film. Visual coherence appears to be wasted because of poor character development. The cut-away are also annoying and not in sync considering that this is an action movie. At one point, the film changes from gunfire to a school football match. The zoomed focus on characters makes it even work to watch the movie since it make the coloring to be blur. According to Zilberman, Alan the movie is “a colorless dud” (para. 3). Further, IMDB indicates that the “the shaky camera-work is downright frustrating to watch” (para. 6). These reviews seem to illuminate my opinions on the filmography of the movie.
More than 90% of the film appears to have been shot in daylight. The costume in most incidents is also very appropriate and it suits the characters. Most of the characters wear army suits, which is commendable considering they are in battle. However, Peck does not seem ready to fight in a scene where he only put on a t-shirt. In the film, the wolverines have dirty faces showing the struggles the team goes through trying to fight the Koreans. The film is set in a rocky are and forest in a small town. In such a setting, the wolverines manage to find major areas to hide from the Korean troops. Apart from the shaky camera effect, the film does not have other effects. The repetition of this effect is due to the film trying to portray gunfire even though it does not work properly. This effect makes the film to be boring and annoying to watch and it appears as though the cinematographer did not do his work appropriately. No critics have mentioned something about the art direction of this film.
In summary, Red Dawn manages to educate on important moral lesson and raise serious issues that the American could reflect. If Koreans managed to invade America as depicted in the film, then how soon would it be able to deal with the issue or would it even let invasion occur? On the weakness, the cast was not good in their acting and the camera had shaky effects that made it annoying watch the film. Anyone who understands the importance of editing and cinematography should avoid watching this film. Overall, I enjoyed the film and I would recommend it to anyone interested in watching action movies.
“Red Dawn-2012.” Roatentomatoes. Roatentomatoes, 2012. Web. 5 Feb. 2016. < http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/red_dawn_2012/>.
“Reviews & Ratings for Red Dawn.” IMDB. IMDB, 2012. Web. 5 Feb. 2016. < http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1234719/reviews>.
Adelmann, Bob. “Movie Review: Red Dawn (2012).” Light from the Right. 23 November 2012. Web. 5 Feb. 2016. <http://lightfromtheright.com/2012/11/23/movie-review-red-dawn-2012/>.
Manohla, Dargis. “He’s Lost the Game. Can He Beat the Koreans?: ‘Red Dawn’ Remake Trades Soviets for North Koreans.” New York Times. . 20 November 2012. Web 5 Feb. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/21/movies/red-dawn-remake-trades-soviets-for-north-koreans.html>.
Oslen, Mark. “Review: 'Red Dawn' remake won't win hearts and minds.” Los Angeles Times. 20 November 2012. Web 5 Feb. 2016. < http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/20/entertainment/la-et-mn-red-dawn-20121121>.
Zilberman, Alan. “Red Dawn Wasn't About the Cold War; It Was About Shooting People.” The Atlantic. 18 November 2012. Web. 5 Feb. 2016. <http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/11/red-dawn-wasnt-about-the-cold-war-it-was-about-shooting-people/265361/>.