Earlier this week it was made public that MGM’s Red Dawn remake would change its villains from the Chinese to North Koreans. In damage control mode, one of the producers (Tripp Vinson) reached out to Jeremy Smith of Ain’t It Cool News to offer the why of why this happened. He says it’s because that’s what game theorists thought was more likely.
The money quote:
The changes made to Red Dawn in the last few weeks were made in consultation with military think tanks and people that specialize in game theory. Really smart people that spend their days constructing doomsday scenarios for our military and government. The type of people that know the limitations of the North Korean military. The type of people that can project a series of events that could lead to some very scary things happening to our Country. I can assure you, we listened well to those people, especially with regards to the capability of the North Korean military.
MGM has been been on the ropes for years now, and Red Dawn has been sitting in a can for a while. Finding a villain for a film like this was easier in the the 1980′s – Russia was the obvious big threat to America and its way of life, so making them a villain in anything was an easy sell for the domestic market.
But the games and stakes have changed. Without Russia as the boogeyman America has no clear enemy that it isn’t already at war with, but the nature of war has changed. Sure, America is at war with the Taliban – but no one would believe they would have the man-power for an all-0ut invasion. The same goes for most of the Middle East. And China (for better or ill) was different and communist enough to make them a credible threat.
Unfortunately the politics of casting China as the enemy were never good. America has a working but awkward relationship with that great power in the East, and for a film to be a success it’s important not to write off the international marketplace. Recently we’ve seen The Karate Kid remake, which was set in China, and gave the country a number of sweeping vista shots. The results were a film that made a little more money internationally than nationally ($176 domestic, $182 international).
The conversation was damage control, but even with changes the film still isn’t on the release calender. Hopefully (for the film at least) these changes will lead to the film’s eventual release.
Does changing the bad guys from Chinese to Korean make you want to see the Red Dawn remake more or less?