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"Red Dawn (2012)" Review

This remake of the Cold War-era minor classic of the same name was held up for a couple of years due to the combined factors of MGM going bankrupt (also holding up The Cabin in the Woods) and having to perform massive digital surgery, replacing flags and logos, to change the original invading army from Chinese to North Korea, because that's more plausible and oh wait no, it's to avoid offending or soon-to-be-overlords. The results are the same, though; a mediocre muddle meandering through meadows of mehness.

A pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth leads a ragtag band of guerrilla fighters including pre-Hunger Games Josh Hutcherson, Connor "Tom and Nicole adopted me, thus the total lack of resemblance" Cruise in Spokane, Washington. He's a Marine on leave with experience in Iraq, so he's the default leader not that his surly and erratic brother, Josh Peck, seems to appreciate as he screws things up frequently with is impulsive behavior.

While there are some nice explosions and it's fun to spot the locations in downtown Detroit and (mostly) Pontiac, MI where they filmed, it never catches fire because the beats are familiar to anyone who's seen any "resisting invasion" flick whether another country or aliens from outer space. (I probably haven't seen the original in a quarter-century, but recognized the trap door ambush they use.) If anything, in the translation from ChiComs to Norks something has been lost because it prevents any sense of what they're up to, not that the script had anything much on it's mind in the first place.

It's also oddly muted in its patriotism when you'd think Team America's "America, F*ck Yeah!" would be the Wolverines anthem. Since Hollyweird equates pro-American patriotism as "jingoistic imperialism," it's not too surprising that they wanted to keep such rabble-rousing thoughts from entering the audiences mind, ending up with a bland pablum unable to rouse or incite anyone to thought or action.

Score: 4/10. Catch it on cable.


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