Red Dawn FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
FilmDistrict, Contrafilm Productions, MGM and Vincent Newman Entertainment present a 100 minute, PG-13, action, drama, directed by Dan Bradley, written by Carl Ellsworth, Jeremy Passmore and story by Kevin Reynolds with a theater release date of November 21, 2012.
Based on the remake from 1984 which starred Patrick Swayze this new version has a number of new twists but pretty much stays along the lines of the original. Present time in Spokane, Washington life for a group of friends and their families was nothing beyond the ordinary. Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth) has returned home from the Marines to see his father Police Sergeant Tom Eckert (Brett Cullen) and his brother Matt (Josh Peck). There’s a Wolverines football game going on and Matt is not doing so well but no matter what has the support from his girlfriend Erica (Isabel Lucas). After a night of introductions of friends from the past and a city wide black out, Jed heads to bed only to be woken up by fighter planes flying above and paratroopers landing throughout the entire neighborhood.
When they connect up momentarily with their father he instructs them to get to the cabin in the hills. Many shots later, explosions and a chase through town by the invaders and the district commander Captain Lo (Will Yun Lee) Jed, his brother Matt and several of their friends are off into the woods to take cover leaving behind family and friends. As for Matt he was not able to rescue Erica which causes him to seek her out later which only jeopardizes the safety of the new named group of kids now known as the Wolverines. Some say even the tiniest flea can drive a big dog crazy which is exactly what this band of rebel kids does to the North Koreans that have invaded their home land.
They soon kill the enemy for weapons and ammo and feed off the resources of the land and from the town as much as possible. Moving from different locations as to not be found this young group of rebels is not only fighting for their lives but for that of their country. Eventually as they too take a loss of Wolverines killed in battle they team up with three retired Marines to plot out their next wave of actions. The one main target of the Wolverines is to capture the enemy’s communications system which would help to take down the North Koreans who are being supplied arms from the Russians. Final stop is to locate the device by entering the North Koreans headquarters but little do they know it could lead to the demise of several members of their team.
The film is action packed from beginning to end and totally a film for guys that centers mainly of combat tactics filled with some amazing stunts and explosive effects. Nicely filmed and directed for the most part it seems that the writing is what failed the story leaving several open end holes throughout the film. Unlike the original which had excellent character development this rendition lacks most of that but makes up for it with modern day warfare albeit still a bit archaic for modern times. I did enjoy the real footage at the beginning of the film that highlighted the troubles in our world with appearances by President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton all making a case of just how real this could possibly be for the United States one day. It really leaves you thinking what you would do if you lost all your loved ones leaving you to fight in their honor and the honor of our great country.
The cast was nicely assembled with Hemsworth leading the crowd and doing a wonderful job in Patrick Swayze’s shoes. He carries the film more than anyone with truth and believability making him worthy of the lead. Peck the younger brother with a gripe to take up with Jed proves that a boy can become a man in a short amount of time due to circumstances rather than age. The rest of the group Toni (Adrianne Palicki) who plays the interest of Jed in the story does justice to her role. Robert (Josh Hutcherson) who everyone is familiar with from “The Hunger Games” is an asset to the story along with Daryl Jenkins (Connor Cruise) whose father in the story is Mayor Jenkins (Michael Beach). Lucas who plays Erica was probably the only one character that seemed a bit out of place at times. Danny (Edwin Hodge), Julie (Alyssa Diaz), Andy Tanner (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Pete (Steve Lenz) along with a number of other supporting cast members all make this film worth the ticket price if you’re in for some action packed high octane energized filmmaking but if you’re in it for a story that makes sense with a beginning, middle and end then you will most likely be disappointed. They definitely leave the door open for Red Dawn 2 if they choose although the ending will truly leave you hanging unless you want to fill in the blanks on your own and there are a number of blanks! Written and enjoyed although not as much as the original since the balance of action versus story line was so unequal with two and half paws, mainly for the special effects, out of four by Jon Patch.
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