Red Dawn (2012) – Wolverines!

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and me to break down another cinematic original and its remake.  Sticking with our usual ways, Catie reviews the original and I take on the remake.  This month we tackle the coming-of-age action film, Red Dawn.

Usually, I include Catie’s summary that applies to both films.  But this time, I tweaked it just a bit:

With North Korea and Russia invading the United States, a group of Washington State high school students turned refugees slowly organize themselves into an effective guerilla force. 

It may be hard to believe, but I didn’t actually request to cover the remake this month.  Since I had already seen both films, I let Catie choose which one she wanted to review before turning in any requests.  And with her decision to cover the original, I returned to Redbox for a copy of the remake.

Before I dive into the 2012 film, let’s talk about the 1984 version.  I can remember my older brother LOVING this film in the ‘80s.  I watched it on occasion with him, but being that I was quite a bit younger at the time, the movie didn’t resonate as much with me as it did him.  However, now as an adult, I believe the original Red Dawn will forever be a classic.

Heck, just look at the cast: Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Jennifer Grey, Powers Boothe, and Harry Dean Stanton (to just name a few).  Every single one of these actors and actresses are still known today, something that can’t be said for most ‘80s Hollywood stars.  But casting aside, the film stands firm on its own merits… and my fifteen year old, soon to be sixteen year old, nephew has watched this “old” flick a few times himself and enjoys it just as much as his dad did back in the day.  This alone speaks to the power of Red Dawn.

So is it even possible for the remake to hold up?

Like many others out there, I was appalled by the news that Hollywood was remaking Red Dawn.  I mean, seriously… are there any original thoughts left as far as films are concerned today?

Regardless of how I felt, I knew at the time that I would have to at least check it out.  And then I heard who was cast (THOR, people!) and saw the trailer, both of which piqued my interest.

THOR! I mean, Jed…

Granted, besides Chris Hemsworth (that’s Thor for those who don’t already know), not many of the actors and actresses were “big” stars.  But I did find it interesting that Connor Cruise (Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s son) was making his acting debut in this film… plus, we had just recently seen Adrianne Palicki in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, so it’s not like we didn’t “know” any of the other cast members.  And once we started watching the remake, we recognized others: Josh Hutcherson (Peeta, The Hunger Games), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Sam and Dean Winchester’s dad from Supernatural), Isabel Lucas (Alice, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), Edwin Hodge (Kai, from the hopeful NCIS: Red Team), and a few others.

But what about the story?

The 2012 remake kept the general idea behind Red Dawn’s storyline; I mean, didn’t they have to?    However, they did change enough of the individual facets to help it stand on its own… different location, different character details (i.e. Jed is a Marine in the remake instead of “just a regular guy”), different bad guys, and a few different twists with the plotline that you won’t expect—sorry for being so cryptic, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers.

But most importantly, the 2012 film will more than likely affect today’s generation like its predecessor did…  even if the children of the ‘80s disagree… and I feel this is important.

Bottom line, the 2012 remake did not disappoint this Red Dawn (1984) fan at all and I think everyone should at least give it a chance.


What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the remake of Red Dawn?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.

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