Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Red Dawn (2012)
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on February 9, 2013
"Dude, we're living Call of Duty. And it sucks."

So says a character in Red Dawn 2012, succinctly summing up the movie. This film purports to be a remake of John Milius's 1984 cult classic about a group of American teens who band together to fight back against communist invaders but don't be fooled. In reality Dawn 2012 is a poor man's version of the Red Dawn inspired missions from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (where the Russians invade America).

Dawn 2012, like too many blockbusters, feels like a movie assembled by a committee to say nothing and offend no-one, to be as safe and commercial as possible. I am glad to say that in this case second guessing the lowest common denominator didn't pay-off and that Dawn 2012 flopped at the box office. The original Red Dawn isn't a perfect movie - the script is a bit disjointed and the acting could be better - but at least it has convictions. At least it takes some risks. At least it has a director who is passionate about the material (which he also co-wrote). And it shows in every scene of the film.

The original Red Dawn is a celebration of rugged individualism and ordinary people rising to the occasion; the remake, not so much. In Dawn 1984 the heroes are average kids. But in the remake the kids are led by a marine. In the original the characters live off the land as best they can. In the remake the group are never far from occupied civilisation and steal food from a miraculously open Subway. In the original as the war wears on the characters get dirty and get tougher. In the remake everyone always looks perfectly made up and no-one ever has to make any truly difficult decisions. The original is pretty damn cheesy and unrealistic in places, often endearingly so, but it's just as often shocking and provocative. The remake on the other hand is one implausible and/or ridiculous thing after another with none of the charm of the sillier aspects of the original.

But maybe it's unfair to compare Dawn 2012 with some old movie from the 80's especially since the film mainly seems to emulate a more recent property. Like its videogame counterparts in Modern Warfare 2, Dawn 2012 takes place in urban environments, as opposed to the small town and surrounding wilderness setting of the original. Ramin Djawadi's score is almost indistinguishable from the music that plays underneath the gunfire in Call of Duty. Like a videogame shoot-em-up Dawn 2012 is action from start to finish. The plot and characters are barely fleshed out. The film is shot and edited in a way that tries to evoke the experience of blasting away bad guys from behind a controller but fails to do so due to an overreliance on shaky-cam and rapid cutting.

So what's Dawn 2012 like judged on its own, without any comparisons to... Oh yeah... I should mention that the Australians have their own version of Red Dawn in the form of a long series of books. I don't know whether or not author John Marsden knew about Dawn 1984 before writing Tomorrow, When the War Began and its sequels (Wikipedia says he didn't) but his work functions as a better remake than the official remake. The film adaption of the first book on the other hand is even more vacuous than Dawn 2012 and should be avoided.

Tomorrow has the same libertarian ideals as Dawn 1984. It's a similar blend of goofy heroics and hard hitting dramatic moments. Tomorrow and Dawn 1984 are products of creators who are in love with their respective countries. In Tomorrow, the teen resistance fighter Ellie, who narrates the series, writes frequently of her affection for her land, its people and their way of life. The original Red Dawn is filled with gorgeous landscape shots. The movie is saying this is what America looks like, this is what it FEELS like. At the end of his movie Milius has one of his antagonists realise that unlike the protagonists he will never belong to the landscape. The Red Dawn remake is superficially patriotic. It has a few shots of the American flag and couple of lines about how "this is our home!" and "freedom!" but it never shows the viewer why America is a cause worth fighting and dying for.

Anyway, where was I... the Red Dawn remake, on its own merits. Basically, it sucks. But hopefully from everything I've said you've already gathered that. There are much better movies (the original Red Dawn) videogames (Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2) and books (Tomorrow, When the War Began) that you can invest your time and money in.
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on November 4, 2014
This movie is one in a long line of remakes intent on giving an "updated" version of a better quality original. Hollywood specializes now in creating the least offensive, and/or controversial product possible, and it usually has all the passion of a car commercial.
My reasons for giving the movie a "1 star" rating?
1. The original was made at a time when real tension existed between the U.S. and Russia. That anxiety over armed conflict between the two is minimal at this point, and not on the radar screens of the vast majority of Americans. Basically, it's not timely.
2. Aspects of the original are changed for no apparent reason, other than to make the film possibly less offensive to some groups. Example? In the first film, most of the invaders were Cuban. North Koreans are not likely to feel incensed at the release of this turd though, owing to the fact that it will never air in their country, except in the context of torture possibly. Also, you can't help noticing the "wolverteens" were "diversified" to make it more "modern".
3. As is common now, the cast is made up of skinny jean wearing hipsters, that look like they have spent considerable time in the hair and makeup department minutes before filming. What little dirt you see on them, looks applied. If you want realism, wouldn't it make sense for the characters to look a little more ragged?
4. The characters are incredibly generic, and the acting is flat.
5. The action was cartoonish. Surprisingly, in real life, people can't outrun explosions or bullets. I think they used some old "roadrunner" episodes as a technical reference.

If you wanted to make the film more politically correct, for starters you could make the bad guys target a strategic iphone supply in the U.S. That would be the most plausible scenario for young people taking up arms. Texted by main character-"OMG, they want our phooooonnnnnneeesss! LOL". Also, they could outfit our heroes with rapid fire social justice dispensers (a gun is too offensive, and it kinda looks like a penis too) that leave the baddies cowering from it's high intensity, anti-patriarchy, guilt and shame waves. Poor guys would be reduced to dishing with their female friends on Saturday night about some hottie/ bad boy, while secretly pining for them. "You're such a good friend (insert North Korean soldier name here), I'm lucky to have you". Some other memorable lines from the film might be: "I hid some skinny jeans in a recycled paper bag under the manhole....er...ummm.. I mean the drainage system cover equally accessible regardless of gender, religion, race, and/or political leaning". Pretty catchy huh?
Unfortunately, I don't see this idiotic trend ending anytime soon. The real red invasion has been occurring for decades, and it's ideological.
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on November 21, 2012
Well I just got back from the Midnight movie of this film which is a remake of the 1984 original movie, Red Dawn, which had an all star cast consisting of; Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey, Ben Johnson, Harry Dean Stanton, Ron O'Neal, and Powers Boothe. The setting for the 1984 film was a small town in Colorado when suddenly during a normal fall school day, Soviet, Nicaraguan, and Cuban troops parachute out of the sky and begin landing on the football field and throughout the small Colorado town. A few of the teenagers led by Patrick Swayze's character Jed, flee into the mountains and left to fend for themselves while the remaining towns people that were captured are forced to live at the whim of the invading forces. After a few short weeks of living in the mountains the teens are forced to make a decision on whether or not to fight or submit to the rule of the occupying forces. They decide and begin to wage their own guerrilla warfare against the invading Soviet troops.

Now I went into this movie being a very big fan of the original and had just recently re-watched it again, for perhaps the 30th or 40th time, in anticipation of this remake. So I would have to advise you, as you are reading this review, that perhaps I am a bit jaded and prone to favoring the original version of this film. Now having said that, I did like this film and I feel that it does the original version some justice, although this film just didn't seem to have the heart that the original film had. I really can't say that it was the fault of the actors as the vast majority of them did a fine job with their roles, but the depth of each character wasn't really explored as it had been in the original film.

Now we have to discuss believability when it comes to the actual premise of the United States being invaded by a foreign power. Ridiculous? Perhaps. But I would strongly lean to the possibility that it could very well happen, although maybe not exactly like it is depicted in the movie, but I do believe it could. Could a small band of teenagers and young adults become an impressive and effective guerrilla force? Certainly. But my problem is why was their only a handful in a town as big as Spokane, Washington, which at last time I heard was hovering around just under 500,000 people. You mean to tell me that there are only a dozen or so people out of that many that have the guts to stand up and fight? I don't think so. Maybe in some sections of the country where everyone is a brain-dead zombie (for whatever reason), but I think there would be a lot more taking up arms.

Now there are a lot of similarities between the current film and the 1984 original, but there is also enough differences to make this movie stand on its own.

Here are ten of the major differences without really giving away in spoilers.

1. The setting for this film is Spokane, Washington as opposed to a small Colorado town as depicted in the original.

2. The title character of Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth) is a U.S Marine on leave from Iraq in this film as opposed to Swayze's character who was not in the military.

3. Jed and Matt's (Josh Peck) father does not end up being taken to an "internment camp" as was shown in the original film.

4. This film has a lot more urban guerrilla fighting in it compared to the original.

5. The very controversial moment in the original film is in this film as well, but in a totally different way.

6. Although it was primarily the Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Russians in the original film, the main villains in this film are the North Koreans and a very small moment and really merely a brief mention of Russian involvement. It should be noted that originally the invading forces were supposed to be Chinese, which is much more likely, but so as not to "offend" anyone, the producers of the film decide to go with the North Koreans. Hmmmm?

7. In my opinion more apparent in this film compared to the original is the fact that there will be a lot of family, friends, and neighbors that will not only willingly submit to the rule of an invading army, but a lot will also become collaborators against their own countrymen. Watch for this part of the movie and feel free to cheer along with me when a collaborator gets what he so richly deserves.

8. The somewhat similar role that Powers Boothe played in the original film is basically revised by Jeffrey Dean Morgan in this film, but with a quite of bit of a difference.

9. The deer hunting scene has also been included in this film. However, they have added a very humorous twist to it that will have you rolling in the aisles laughing.

10. The ending is a complete 180 degree flip-flop from the original film.

Now there are some other major differences in this film as compared to the original, but I don't want to post any real spoilers so you will just have to go see the movie and see fi you can spot all the differences and similarities yourself.

Shawn Kovacich
Author and Creator of numerous books and DVD's.
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on October 6, 2015
A remake of the original film. with a few faults one fault is, it's very dark and you loose your bearing and you really can't see who is shot and killed and where the shooting is coming from it's just way to dark mainly towards the end. It misses the mark as remakes often do. They had a chance to make a great movie but they missed the mark. Not that it's bad but the original is that much better. I love remakes that are done right. It shares some similarities but there are many changes, some good some not so good. There are a few things I found with the script that are far fetched but the actors did a great job despite the at times a crappy script. The film failed to keep my attention and even lost my interest at times I could care less if I saw it or not. That what makes it disappointing to me as I had high hopes for this film because I am such a fan of the original movie. If you like the original; you kinda want to see this movie if not I'd pass on it. A waste in Blu ray, it looks good but ot wont help this film it's still just OK.
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on March 12, 2015
This re-make is much better then the original but still silly fiction. I was an Army officer and had trouble suspending as much belief as needed to get passed the many plot holes of both the Enemy and the High School Kids. Several of the events were so ludicrous I laughed out loud. They have so much logistical lift they can bring in orange jump suits for prisoners but bring only one radio and that cannot be secured with rolling encryption? The kids are on the run for only a few days and equip a lair big enough to drive a truck into with enough supplies and lighting that it would take three times their number just to carry half the stuff there. AND the enemy is so stupid they have no patrols and they cannot even look on a Topo map or do a Google search to find such a a structure.
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on March 22, 2015
A Big HAHA Never in our life time.Like the Phony false flag ISIS Traning camps in America now Mauauauh ! The only way to take US down is by Our Own Govt ! This movie will never stand up to the original. I have watched the 84 Iconic Classic over 15 times since the " Original came out ." I still have deep thoughts of Why we dd not slam Vietnam into Oblivion.Then Communism,China And Russia would not be As Powerful as they are now or Socialist Statisim In America would not Exist !
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on April 2, 2015
The first edition of this film was far better, more believable, considering the enemy envisioned, and Swayze was overall a better lead actor than this guy, in my opine! Remakes, in general, in my opine, are never as good as the original, and I really wish Hollyweird would quit riding this horse and find better screenwriters to create original plots, story-lines, and seek Indie screen authors for their material!
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on April 28, 2014
I'm not a fan of the original Red Dawn to begin with, but at least the director clearly cared about what he was doing with that one. Not the case with this remake. Then again, the only reason I got it was because I found it cheap and Josh Hutcherson is in it. Not even he can save this film for me though.

I'll be blunt: the performances feel stilted. The characters aren't even one-dimensional, they have no dimensions to speak of, and they're completely forgettable. Honestly, when people die in this film my reaction was one of, "Huh? Someone got killed? I don't even remember that character. What was their name again? Did they even have one?" Speaking of character, there is no character development to actually make me care about the cardboard cutouts I'm forced to watch for 90 minutes. The action is sub-par at best. The storyline is too absurd to be taken seriously and takes itself too seriously to be funny. The climax feels like it was ripped from a video game that was probably way more fun and interesting than this film. In the end you're just left feeling cold and used. Emphasis on the used. Even the $4 I spent to own this feels like way too much. I was robbed. And I'm not happy.

Bottom line: if you want Red Dawn, watch the original. Use the remake as a drink coaster. At least you'll get some satisfaction out of it that way.
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on June 10, 2013
It was a decent remake of a very good movie. However, I did enjoy the original more. Probably because I basically knew what was going to happen. But we watched the whole movie and enjoyed it. If you hadn't seen the first one I think you would like this one a lot.
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Solid remake of the original, and quite watchable. I found the scene where they wake up in their homes and find we are under full attack to be gutwrenching, as it should be. In a lot of ways, I feel the original had better acting, but I recommend seeing both of these films. Many have argued that the premises of each of these films is utter nonsense, unrealistic, etc., but I think it is good food for serious thought to picture what it is like to have foreign boots on the ground in your own country. There are many accounts of war in many lands, but this one allows you to entertain for a while how horrific it might be it if came to our shores. These days, a series of major events could rapidly unfold which could bring that about. Food for thought. Recommended.
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