Red Dawn has a pretty cheesy and silly plot. But has that alone ever stopped you from enjoying a movie? It’s never stopped me. You don’t have to buy into the premise of a film to enjoy it. If you go into an action movie looking to have fun, you’re more likely to appreciate the film. That’s the reason I enjoyed the remake of Red Dawn. It’s the perfect popcorn movie to sit back and enjoy.
If you’ve seen the original, you’ll recognize the plot and the characters. This movie is perfect for those that haven’t seen the original movie, though. It stands alone as an entertaining film. It begins with Jed Eckert played by Chris Hemsworth (Thor), a Marine making an unexpected return home from Iraq. Jed gets back to his home town in Washington state in time to watch his brother Matt, played by Josh Peck (Drake & Josh, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown) play quarterback for the high school football team whose mascot is the Wolverines.
After the Wolverines lose, Jed and Matt go out and enjoy their Friday night before returning home just in time to see their dad, the sheriff, head out for the night. The two are woken up in the morning by the sound of planes and heavy artillery. Countless planes are flying above airdropping in North Korean soldiers and vehicles in the start of what looks like World War III. They quickly load up their truck and find their father who tells them to go to a remote family cabin where they spent time growing up. Along the way, they pick up some of their friends, but some of them they can’t save.
The next day, they’re discovered. One character’s father, the mayor, pleads with the kids to come out so that no harm will come to anybody. But the sheriff tells the kids to go to war. After he’s executed, that’s exactly what they do. Jed trains the small group to fight, shoot, and survive while using the insurgency tactics he was taught in the Marines and experienced from terrorists in Iraq. The group fights to not only save their friends and family, but to give the town a reason to hope and rise up against their oppressors.
As I said before, this is the perfect popcorn movie with a ton of guilty pleasure awesomeness. There’s no way a group of untrained kids could learn the military style fighting and shooting skills in a short time the way they do, but you’d better believe there’s an awesome montage showing it. Without spoiling some of the key moments of the movie that would have any regular audience applauding, there are some cheesy and not-so-subtle coincidences that happen in the film that exploit the relationships of the characters and their journey. They’re cool moments and they’ll have you smiling if you have the right attitude going in.
Red Dawn isn’t just action-packed, I dare say that this movie is well-acted as the emotional moments in the movie are given their due time. In a lot of military movies, you get the same thing when a main character dies. One of the characters is rocked and devastated while another is screaming some version of “we have to keep moving” or “he’s gone, there’s nothing we can do.” The fact that these are kids and their vulnerability is consistent makes those moments more believable in this movie. It also has room for a little bit of romance as Jed develops feelings for a family friend that he used to babysit (only because he was the oldest by a few years, it’s not a creepy age difference) and Josh is so narrowly focused on saving his girlfriend, to the detriment of the group, after she is captured.
Red Dawn is a fun and action-packed ride with a solid ending that’ll have you screaming “Wolverines!” by the end of it. Pay to see it in theatres and, if you can, watch it with a big audience. You’ll enjoy it more.