No matter what people say, remakes and reboots are the same animal. Every once in awhile a reboot is justified, it makes sense. But the latest version of Red Dawn doesn’t try to enhance much of the original story. We’re not exactly sure what it tries to do. 

The Players

The Plot:

A quiet town is shaken to its core when North Korean invaders take over the town. Now a band of teenagers must fight the terror that threatens to destroy everything they hold dear.

The Good:

  • Teeth-Chattering Action: You can’t say Red Dawn doesn’t have its fair share of action. There’s never a dull moment for those who love the sight of explosions and gunfire. Aside from the usual, the film can portray something as basic as football in a dramatic way. It compensates for the less than stellar story line.

The Decent:

  • Our Cast: It’s always nice to see fresh, young acting talent take center stage. But it’s a shame they aren’t working with the best material. Between that and the over-the-top acting, the movie is sometimes painful to sit through. Yes, we understand the characters are in a heightened situation, but some of the actors look as if they’re going to burst into tears at any moment. It makes you uncomfortable because you know some of them can do better.

The Bad:

  • The Shaky Direction: When you get somebody like Dan Bradley in the director’s chair, your mind wanders to a couple of assumptions. The first is the action sequences are going to be a delight because of his stunt coordination background. That means the practical effects in this film are stellar. At the same time, he’s a stunt guy, which shows in the movie. There’s bound to be instability when it comes to a first-time director trying to do the best with whatever experience he has. But there’s a gratuitous use of shaky cam and lack of focus on who what we’re supposed to follow. Those behind this film may have hired a new filmmaker just to save on costs, which is insulting to Bradley.
  • Our Story and Time Frame: When you’re dealing with a story that spans a few months, it’s nice to have an idea of what month you’re in. It gives you a better sense of how much things have changed from the start of the movie. If you don’t pay attention, you would think the whole movie takes place within a week. On top of that, our group of adolescent characters are suddenly granted superior strength and skill to wield weapons within the span of what seems like two days. The time line is completely smashed together and it’s frustrating to sit through. That and you’re never given a chance to just lock in, and follow one character. You know how there’s always a lead character that takes you by the hand to bring you through the experience? Yeah, there isn’t much of that here.

Overall:

Now we know why Red Dawn was shelved for so long. The original validates its existence and that’s about it. Just another shrug-worthy revision to throw into the lackluster remake pile.

Rating: 4/10

Red Dawn comes out in theaters everywhere on November 21st.

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Red Dawn opens in theaters November 21.

Will you be seeing Red Dawn this holiday weekend?