The Daily Aztec
San Diego State's Independent Student Newspaper
5025 Apartments


November 27, 2012

‘Red Dawn’ is a sloppy, stupid, jingoistic mess of a film

More articles by »
Written by: Andrew Younger

Share on TumblrShare via email

Courtesy MGM

When Cold War fetishist John Milius wrote and directed the original “Red Dawn” in 1984, his fantasy of high school students using misplaced machismo to repel a Soviet invasion possessed  enough testicular fortitude to make Russkies the enemy. In contrast, director Dan Bradley’s flaccid remake attempted to modernize the story by demonizing China, until the studio determined it would hurt Chinese box office receipts. The triumph of the free market forced Bradley to change all references of China to North Korea in post-production and burdened him with the unenviable task of making a country half the size of Washington seem capable of occupying the entire Pacific Northwest.

North Korea causes a power outage across the entire U.S., which apparently renders every military, police and government agency completely useless (no word on whether the Monroe Republic formed elsewhere). When Marine Jed Eckhert (Chris Hemsworth) and his high school quarterback brother Matt (Josh Peck) witness the execution of their father (Brett Cullen), presumably the only cop in the entire city of Spokane, they form a guerilla army of high school students with no discernible personalities or purpose other than to become cannon fodder. Matt goes rogue trying to rescue his imprisoned girlfriend Erica (Isabel Lucas) and, in the process, gets one of the aforementioned students killed, causing a rift between brothers and teaching a valuable life lesson about leadership. Of course, this development would matter to the audience if we cared about who was getting killed or why.

Rather than using this remake to explore Cold War paranoia, or even develop a lighthearted adolescent action movie, Bradley handles “Red Dawn” like “Platoon” for pubescents. He grievously miscalculates “Red Dawn” as a straightforward war film which forces the audience to take his ridiculous premise seriously, making the movie insufferable in the process. Any attempts to add unnecessary moral ambiguity amongst the oorah posturing, even though Milius’ “Red Dawn” was notoriously pro-American, results in facepalm-inducing lines such as, “In Iraq, they were the bad guys and we were the good guys because we kept order. Now, (the North Koreans) are the good guys and we are the bad guys because we create chaos.” Yay, America?

In the midst of guerilla warfare, the teenage terrorists stop by a Subway, where they load up on footlongs and engage in a lengthy discussion about how tasty the food is. If there is any question as to who really won the Cold War, product placement for a national fast-food franchise within Communist-occupied territory settles that dispute. How bad can our Communist overlords be if we can still “Eat fresh?”

Facebook Comments

About the Author

Andrew Younger


Tony Gwynn

Tony Gwynn takes leave of absence

San Diego State head baseball coach and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gywnn, has taken a leave of absence from coaching, dating back to March 24 due to medical conditions. Growing up in San Diego a huge Padres fan, G...
by Ryan Posner


Enjoying all aspects of pop culture in Anaheim

People who religiously attend Comic-Con in San Diego as I do are probably familiar with WonderCon in Anaheim. While I’ve known about it for years, I was not exactly sure what to expect upon entering the Anaheim Convention Cen...
by David Dixon


Learning about ‘The Fifth Beatle’

Vivek J. Tiwary is the writer of the graphic novel, “The Fifth Beatle,” and a producer of many successful plays and musicals including “American Idiot” and “The Producers.” He will be writing the script to the film ...
by David Dixon



Get your fix at the Vinyl Junkies Record Swap

Finding new records should be more than a simple shopping trip. For those looking to hang out as you shop for your favorite music, a visit to Vinyl Junkies Record Swap gets you more than new vinyl in your collection. The bi-mon...
by Ryo Miyauchi


Crime on campus

Deadly weapon assault A man was arrested Sunday morning for assaulting San Diego State students at the Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity house. The individual was in possession of a deadly weapon at the time of the assault. It is uncl...
by Quinn Owen



Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply