Red Dawn (2012)

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It blows…

Do you really need more than that? All right, I’ll elaborate… However, to better understand well have to talk about the original RED DAWN that was released in 1984. By the way, SPOILERS AHEAD!

For both films.

Now, I’m no cult follower of the original film. Reason being a bunch of kids and Patrick Swayze, all being inexperienced fighters, start a successful guerrilla group that effectively manage to cause havoc for the invading forces. Yet their first casualties don’t happen until the end of the second act.

In the middle of all this they pick up an Air Force Lt. Col aviation pilot who teaches the kids a bit about ground assault. Excuse me for a moment while I laugh my ass off at that idea. No disrespect to my Commandant, General Amos, who made history by being the first Aviator to hold the most senior position in the entire Marine Corps, but it would be more plausible for a Warfighter with an infantry background to know what air support they need then the other way around, but who really knows, perhaps the Lt. Col served time in the infantry somewhere… As far as I know though, Air Force doesn’t have infantry. They have Special Forces, so its not like they’re completely soft.

The original doesn’t really end well for our group of protagonist. The majority of them die, and the rest of them are left running off to free America. For all it’s worth I don’t really like how easy the characters have it at the beginning, but the premise is good, however the knowledge is ignorant. Yet in the end I will say, I understand the original, I respect the original, and I support the original.

I can not, nor will say the same of the remake. First off, North Koreans, are you serious! I hear the original plan was to have the Chinese invade, which would be much more stupid, but with the invading force would have been far more plausible. North Korea doesn’t have the fighting force necessary to invade France, let along the United States, but let’s look outside of that.

Okay, here we go, plot from start to finish. We start off with clips of news and politics about North Korea, which is one step above yellow text on a black background to exposit, but it is many steps below actually showing us anything, especially when you could shuffle the budget to put together a proper exposition. Oh well, now we got a game of football that we actually see the home team lose, cause we really needed to see that. After the game is over we see Jed Eckert our main protagonist, whose a Marine home on leave, he goes to the local bar and meets up with Toni, one of the two girls that was in the original, and guess what, she’s got the hots for Jed, and not only that but Toni’s cousin, Erica, is in a relationship with Matt, Jed’s brother. In the original, there wasn’t any focus on relationships. I’m not entirely sure if it would have been tasteful. Especially the emphasis on how the invading forces had the intentions on having their way with Toni and Erica. Yeah, would have been tasteless.

In our remake, the power goes out while everyone is at the bar. It is hinted at that an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) took out the power on the west coast, but here’s my problem, there was an establishing shot. When the power goes out, a car in the background of the shot is still running clear and fine with no problems what-so-ever… Last I remember, most electronic devices would stop functioning due to EMPs, but everyone goes home, then wake up to rattling and rumbling outside the next morning.

Oh, ho ho, before I go into the invasion, let me talk about the relationship between Jed and Matt. In the original, they were just brothers, but now there is some unneeded beef between them, and it’s mommy issues of all things. Apparently mommy Eckert died and Jed ran off to the good old USMC for 6 years.

Now that I’ve gotten that pointlessness out of the way, let’s look at the rest of the pointlessness. Hello Korean paratroopers, welcome to America where there’s car chases aplenty, vehicles are well built, and young boys are the only thing that cause any dents… Yeah I’m not really joking… Jed and Matt run off in their truck, meet up with their father, the Police Sergeant, and run around town for a bit. Matt, the loving boyfriend that he is, wants to pick up Erica before they run anywhere else. Unfortunately Erica gets captured by the Koreans and an inevitable car chase ensues between the Korean Squad Captain and the Eckert brothers. Along the way, the Eckert brothers pick up some stragglers whose names aren’t important, they lose the Korean Squad Captain for a bit but then shows right back up to T-bone the truck. One of the boys in the bed of the truck flies out and damages the Koreans’ Jeep. I presume that the boy died, but the Korean soldiers are just fine and dandy… and so is the Truck despite the fact of getting T-boned. Apparently horrific vehicle collisions only cause blackening in color in the areas of impact, while human bodies will do the most damage. I better see the Wolverines in this movie fighting off tanks with a human catapult somewhere in this film… Yeah like that will happen.

After the chase the entire group, or at least the important people (i.e. Jed, Matt and Toni) regroup at this cabin with a bunch of other kids whose names are not really important. One of the little bastards decides to go turncoat when his little dumbass nearly shoots Jed and got his gun privileges taken away. So the Koreans head to this cabin with the Mayor and Sergeant Eckert in captivity. Now the kids are out hiding in the woods and neither the Koreans, the Mayor or Sergeant Eckert know that they’re out there, but it doesn’t stop the Mayor from trying to talk them out of hiding. However when the megaphone is turned over to Sergeant Eckert, he makes a gamble that his final words of revenge are actually being heard by his sons, and as you might expect he gets executed for it by the Korean Squad Captain. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to waste my final request like that. I want to know without a shadow of a doubt that my message was being received.

Moving forward though, obviously if the kids didn’t get the message they would probably have done the more reasonable thing and ran off to Free America, but then we might of had a more reasonable movie, if it didn’t match the plot of DEFIANCE. Oh well, so with the death of Sergeant Eckert, Jed tells a “soul stirring” speech to the kids and inspire them to start their guerrilla fighting group. Now, the first firearms they receive are a bunch of crappy Machine Pistols. Jed emphasizes their poor quality by trying to shoot a tree from 10 yards of away. He shoots a three round burst, misses, takes a few steps closer, three round burst, still misses, takes another few steps closer, three round burst and finally hits the tree…

That is one of two moments that I must compliment in this film, at least these kids aren’t running around like Rambo spraying a buttload of rounds hitting every target without aiming. So with these SMGs (Small Machine Guns) they ambush some North Korean Soldiers and grab their weapons. So we get a montage of ambushes and bombings, including a point where the bastard Turncoat kid gets his ass blown away, intermixed with Matt running off on his own to see Erica at the internment camp.

When Jed notices this, he confronts Matt saying that his actions are putting the entire group in danger, but he wasn’t just going out there to make googly-eyes at Erica, he was also out getting intel on Korean Squad Captain too. So then they go out and put together another bombing mission, this time at an event out in the middle of town that’s suppose to coincide with an internment camp bus trip that will have Erica onboard, however everything doesn’t go to plan. The Koreans find the stage bomb, but at least Matt got his girlfriend out of the internment camp bus, it only cost him the life of one of his friends. I hope his life was worth it… Considering what happens at the end of the movie, I’m certain it wasn’t.

With that death increases the tension between Jed and Matt, but I didn’t really care to dedicate that to memory so let’s move on from that. Another montage of the Wolverines ambushing Korean Soldiers as those Koreans attempt to execute the kind folks who’ve been aiding the Wolverines. It’s after the montage that the film remembers that’s it’s trying to establish a romance between Toni and Jed… Let me see, there’s something about a camping trip, and they’re sitting comfortably on a bridge near their cave as they talk about old times, they go in to start making out furiously, but Jed stops when he starts to hear artillery rounds raining down upon them. The artillery destroys their cave and kills two of the Wolverines, neither of them being terribly important.

So the rest of the Wolverines escape and regroup in the woods, they are then met by three retired Marines who’ve enlisted in Free America’s Army, as in, I don’t know, the Damn Army, why the hell would Free America’s Army be any different then the United States Army. Okay, you salty old Marines are just reactivating yourselves, coming out of retirement to kick some North Korean ass. Where’s that Marine Corps pride?

Now here’s that second compliment that I have to give to the remake, the three Marines in place of the one Air Force Lt. Col… Simply put, but just because I feel obligated to compliment knowledge about good weaponry choices and senior leadership, it doesn’t excuse this remakes existence.

So these Marines have a mission in which they need the help of the Wolverines, they need to capture a communication device that the North Koreans have that is in possession of Korean Squad Captain. So they group up and go back into the city and infiltrate the North Koreans main base of operation that they set up in the cities Police station… take note of those last two words.

So the Wolverine-Marine team have a final battle inside the police station in which the Wolverines lose a couple of guys, but all the Koreans get their asses beat, including the Korean Squad Captain who fights Jed one-on-one, starting with rifles, then fist fighting, then the Korean Squad Captain gets the upper hand with his pistol, while Jed is rolling on the ground practically helpless next to an empty desk that breaks apart to reveal a safe, a safe that Jed knows the combination to, in which opens up to reveal a loaded pistol that Jed uses to finish the Korean Squad Captain. Jed then gets up, walks up to the glass door that has a Korean nameplate that Jed removes to reveal the old glass etching stating that the office belonged to daddy Sergeant Eckert.

FORCED MUCH!

So out of pure luck, or lack of actual safety on Sergeant Eckert’s part, Jed gets a loaded gun to finish off his final hurdle. Apparently Sergeant Eckert shouldn’t have been a police officer, but he should have been a fortune teller. He had the foresight to give his son the combination to his desk gun safe at his work, and keep it loaded. Perhaps THE OTHER GUYS joke about desk popping has some actual truth to it.

Okay, they regroup in an apartment complex and celebrate their victory, Jed and Matt settle their sibling bickering, and Jed is about to consummate his relationship with Toni… Then Jed gets shot in the head… That’s right, the North Koreans ambush the Wolverines and kill Jed. As it turns out, one of the kids got injected with one of those trackers that pet owners put in their animals. So that kid gets left behind to the mercy of the North Koreans.

In the end the Marines are sent on their way with the Korean Communication Device, and Matt takes on the role of the ring leader of the Wolverines as we cut to him telling the same “soul stirring” speech to a bunch of new recruits, but what really gets me is the vehicles and weaponry they have acquired at the end. There are three vehicles, but I only remember two, a jeep with a belt fed machine gun mount, and a brand new blue sports car with a Minigun mounted on it. When I saw that vehicle I laughed my ass off at the pure stupidity of it.

The Wolverines take those vehicles and mount an assault on the internment camp facility, leaving us with a shot of these prisoners in orange jumpsuit rioting to the exit that was made by one of the vehicles, and that’s the end.

Remember when I said I understood the original? I said that because in 1984 tension was high between the United States and Russia, it was a plausible thought that with the advancement of the arms race that one or the other would start a war for supremacy. A movie depicting such an event was a brilliant idea for a premise. Now nearly 30 years later, with the countries practically dependent on each other to provide them with good business, it gets more ridiculous that two sizable nations would benefit from such an event. Of course North Korea isn’t really recognized as a sizable nation, so how would anyone suspect them to be able to not only invade but push forward and attempt to conquer the entire United States. It makes no real logical sense…

And this movie, it’s not even good in a horrible way… Like I said the only laugh that it got out of me was when I saw a Minigun mounted to a sports care at the end of the movie… So this movie defies enjoyment altogether… This remake had no… I say again, No potential what-so-ever when you change the main bad guys to the only relevant threat localized into one nation, let alone a week one that has just seen the change from a ruthless dictator to his son whose pretty much a wild card at this point and could potential make things better or worse for his nation… but North Korea, while it has the resources for Nuclear armaments, it doesn’t nearly have enough resources or manpower to succeed in an invasion.

The characters are cliched, and the importance of the supporting cast has no emphasis, they’re just here to be pointless canon fodder who no one will care when they get killed because their backstory and character traits and quirks weren’t important enough to have focus. All this movie existed for was to be a pointless flashy action film in the same vain of Battle: Los Angeles.

I’m done with this. People, don’t bother with this trash, it’s not worth the time or the recognition. Good night.

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