Red Dawn reviewed

I was sick with a cold (courtesy of my 4-year-old nephew) for most of the Thanksgiving holiday (yay me) so I pretty much laid low for three days and drank Dr. Pepper (just what the Doctor ordered), downed DayQuil, and read copiously (a book a day, but who’s counting). But I did manage to sneak out and catch a couple of movies.

One of them was Red Dawn.

It’s probably not a huge surprise to you that I went and saw this movie considering my boyf- I mean, Chris Hemsworth is in it. But I had other motives as well. I’m a sucker for patriotic action films and this one seemed like it would deliver.

*Obligatory spoiler warning* I try not to, but ya never know…oh, and because I’m still a little under the weather this review is probably a little snippier than usual. I blame it on my throbbing headache.


The movie starts out with news clips about a Russian/North Korean communist uprising that no one was paying attention to, apparently. Then it switches gears and gets all Friday Night Lights-ish. Especially once Adrianne Palicki pops her pretty little head in. The big High School football game is happening. The after-partying and underage bar hopping is happening. Little bro is pissed at big bro for joining the Marines and ditching him for 6 years after their Mom dies but he has a smokin’ hot girlfriend so whatevs. Girl who had crush on big bro spots him and makes contact by reminding him how adorably awkward she was, but hey, check it out, she’s super hot now.  It’s all very over dramatic and I’m not using their names because I didn’t even know them for most of the movie. I had to look half of them up on imdb just to write this review. (Something else that look at imdb informed me of? Apparently this is a remake of a 1984 movie I didn’t know existed. Weird, since I was pretty sure I knew about every movie made in the 80’s, especially the ones starring Patrick Swayze. And ESPECIALLY ones that also star Jennifer Grey making googly eyes at Patrick Swayze a full 3 years before Dirty Dancing. Seriously. How did I not know this??? That fact stressed me out for exactly 3.5 seconds.)

Then the power goes out and gets everyone even more pissy. The next morning they wake up to loud booms and when they go outside it’s literally raining men. This is where the movie gets its name. Communism = Red, Morning = Dawn. Chaos ensues but a ragtag bunch of teenagers manage to escape with big bro and use guerilla-style fighting tactics courtesy of big bro’s Marine Corps training (oorah!) to fight the big bad Communists.

Chris Hemsworth plays the big bro aka Jed Eckert. He’s gorgeous, of course. Way more gorgeous than he has any right to be. He’s recently returned from a deployment to Iraq and he’s a jack of all trades when it comes to weaponry and explosives. I’ll have to ask my real life USMC brother if that’s true to life or total bullshit. During the movie I found myself believing he could know most of it but probably not all of it. He’s the oldest and therefore the de facto leader of the bunch. The only kid that puts up a fight about that doesn’t last very long. We really don’t learn much about Jed other than the fact that his little brother is resentful yet respectful of him and Adrianne Palicki’s character wants to jump his bones. Despite that, you can’t help but care about the guy because he’s doing everything he can to fight the Commies while keeping his kids alive.

Josh Peck is little bro aka Matt Eckert. I had absolutely no idea who Josh Peck was. After looking at his imdb page, I still don’t. Apparently he was on a Nickelodeon show or something. To be honest, I didn’t care for him or his character all that much. He’s cocky and disobedient and sneers a lot. And when I say sneer, I mean he has a weird little stoned-looking half smile that he uses when he really wants to piss you off. And it works. A total pesky little brother.

Josh Hutcherson is the whimpy kid that ends up being a badass. Sounds kind of like Peeta in The Hunger Games but it’s not. It’s totally different. He was probably my favorite character in the film because he seriously rose to the occasion. His BFF was none other than Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s kid, Connor Cruise. I assumed that this was his acting debut but when I looked him up I saw that he played Will Smith’s younger self in Seven Pounds. I never saw that movie though so I ceased to care. He did ok. His character had a certain dignity that I found appealing.

Adrianne Palicki played Toni Walsh, the girl with a hard on for my boyf- I mean, Chris Hemsworth. I like Adrianne. I think she’s cute and she was the best part of Legion (after Kevin Durand, of course). She becomes a bad ass chick fighter who’s really good at hiding her fear. Maybe because she’s trying so hard to impress big bro. She steals his beer and that causes problems so I’m a little pissed at her right now.

The other hot chick is Isabel Lucas aka Erica Martin. The object of little bro’s obsession, she seems way too pretty for this movie from the get go. They try to ugly her up a bit but it doesn’t work. The girl is crazy gorgeous. She fit in perfectly in Immortals. In this movie, she’s distracting. Plus, she doesn’t have much to do besides be the damsel in distress. She holds her own when given the opportunity though and I respect that in a fictional character.

The other kids are kind of nameless and faceless, to be honest. You’re supposed to care about them just enough that you’re bummed when bad stuff happens to them but you can’t remember their names so you don’t care as much as you probably should. Really, the only ones who really pass as High Schoolers are Hutcherson and Cruise. The rest of them are obviously in their 20’s.

At one point some “recently un-retired” Marines led by Jeffrey Dean Morgan show up looking for the Wolverines (this  is the High School mascot and the super original name they give their guerilla group). I’m pretty much in love with JDM. First he played Denny on Grey’s Anatomy, a show I haven’t seen in years but that I used to be addicted to. Then he showed up as Comedian in Watchmen and his fate as a hunk was sealed. But who am I kidding? I have a list a mile long of men I’m in love with 😉 He has a few great lines and a few great smiles. Which is all I really need from him anyway. One of his buddies is Kenneth Choi who is seriously adorable and gaining quite the reputation as a military sidekick. I have no idea who the third guy was but he was cool.

The baddies were led by Will Yun Lee aka Captain Cho of North Korea. He zeroes in on big bro within minutes of landing and knows he’s going to be trouble. He’s so determined to smoke him out, he does some pretty dastardly (wow, I can’t believe I just used that word, what is this, a Disney movie?) things to make it happen. But he seriously underestimates who he’s dealing with and you can guess what becomes of that.

I’m not going to say that this movie was bad but it wasn’t great either. The emotions were obviously forced at times, even from Hemsworth and Hutcherson who I consider to be pretty talented in that regard for such pretty men. And some of the dialogue was so cliche as to be laughable. The one major thing it has going for it is that no one is safe. Not even the pretty people. That led to some truly shocking death scenes, one of which I expected but that still made me gasp audibly when it happened.

But who am I kidding? I love gratuitous violence and I have a thing for watching American’s kick some ass (even if those “Americans” are imported from Australia). So I enjoyed it.

3 out of 5 Sci-Fives!

three out of five sci-fives


  1. calrocks says:

    I read a review of this film said it looked like a CW mini series condensed into 90 minutes. That’s about right.

  2. I can’t believe you haven’t seen the original. You have to find it. I fell in love with the movie when it first came out, and I have been VERY hesitant to even look at the remake. It seems everyone is giving it very lukewarm reviews…it’s a renter as most people would say, not worth paying theater prices.

  3. Neal Parks says:

    Great review. The original was A – okay, but filled with 80s cheese, and music montage’. I’ll need to catch this flick soon.

  4. Tyson says:

    You should watch the original. I am sure it is SIGNIFICANTLY better.

  5. TommyGunn says:

    Ha I saw Red Dawn at the theater when I was and it was scary in the sense that at that time a war with Russia was such a real possiblity.As a kid I remember bomb drills at school and it was a different world.How’d you miss this one ? Swayze,Sheen,Pony Boy Curtis……..pretty much half the Outsiders cast.I’m so sending you my 80’s list to make sure you live up to the nerdy girl part and not just the hot side !

  6. John Morris says:

    I like your review. (And your blog in general). You seriouslly need to check out the original Red Dawn. Having been brought up by a great geek father I used to watch that as a kid all the time. It’s a little campy, like most of the 80’s movies, but it really highlights the Russian assault problem that Reagan was fighting against. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that movie as well.

  7. MD Longhorn says:

    You MUST watch the original. One of the best movies of this genre of the 1980’s. Yes, it’s campy, but I guess that’s what we paid for in the 80’s. But the movie is great in all the ways you seemed to like the remake – and doesn’t fall into the same traps or problems that you point out above in the remake. I give the original an A-. The remake a C+

  8. Corey says:

    how the hell have you not seen red Dawn (1984)? shame… shame! I haven’t seen the newest Red Dawn, but the original was pretty amazing! all and all tho, I enjoyed reading your review. I like how your honest. Its rare to hear a girls thoughts on movies that isn’t romComs. more pls.

  9. AquarianM says:

    I figured as much, given this was a movie that was a re-make of a film that was just barely plausible when the Cold War was still on, and people believed it could still go hot. You should see the original sometime, but don’t expect much more from it. Despite Patrick Swayze. After living a third of my life under the shadow of the Cold War, I can tell you that the current War On Terror (Heretofore referred to as WOT?) is a bullshit bogeyman that they have to have to justify keeping the defense contractors insanely rich, and Hollywood pushing fright flicks. WOT for? If I catch you reviewing Chicken Soup For The Soul, Tracey, I’ll know it’s the dern cold. Hope you feel better, dear HNG. \//_


  10. check out the original you will like it

  11. Briant Laslo says:

    extremely disappointed that you don’t know the original Red Dawn! It is a classic, must have movie from the 80s and is actually a really good movie. My image of you has changed forever. 🙁

  12. ditchthebun says:

    The original is pretty good I have to say, but then Mr. Swayze is in it so do we expect any less? I haven’t seen the new one yet, but one way I have had it described to me is that they didn’t remake it enough. They tried to retain the 80’s cheese in a lot of parts which didn’t work because obviously it is no longer the 80’s. I believe I will still see it because it has a couple of my own countrymen in it plus JDM, meanwhile let’s not forget that prior to Greys he graced our screens as yummy father John Winchester in Supernatural. That’s where he caught my attention I must say 🙂
    Great review as always.

  13. Jason Smith says:

    So it’s basically The Day The War Began except worse, less original and not Australian. ours is better 😛 Plus books are better anyway.

  14. I think the movie would make a bit more sense if it were the Chinese rather than the North Koreans. It’s like a chihuahua (NK) trying to swallow a whale (you guys) instead of a whale (mainland China) trying to swallow another whale (you guys again). But the movie was shelved for three years because of production company MGM’s bankruptcy (same thing affected Skyfall and The Hobbit) and in the meantime they changed the bad guys (using special effects) from China to North Korea so Red Dawn has a chance to be shown in China (2nd largest film market in the world, probably overtake the U.S. by 2020, also probably overtake the U.S. with biggest GNP by then too). Got that from’s trivia section. So money talks and logic walks.
    Oyez, you mentioned Adrienne Palicki was making googly eyes with your boyfri- I mean Chris. In real life, Chris Hemsworth and Isabel Lucas are both Australians and dated before (also from I’m sure you’ve forgiven your boyfri-I mean Chris for this minor transgression.

  15. John says:

    Your DayQuill inspired reviews aren’t have bad. By the way, you wheren’t IMDBing during the movie were you??

  16. Chris G says:

    The original is on Amazon Instant right now if you’re interested.