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Doc Reviews Red Dawn (2012)

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Welcome back you everyone. It is I, Doc Comeau and we are back for another movie review. Today we are reviewing the 2012 remake of the Movie Red Dawn. A movie I found on Paramount +.

 

Authored by Doc Comeau on Friday, August 6th, 2021 at 5:45 PM EST

 
Photo from IMDb
 

The idea of war across the United States of America is certainly a reasonable possibility in today's climate so I couldn't just review the original film, so I watch the 2012 remake as well. I thought it would be cool to see the differences between the two movies and I had more free time this week. Again, without further ado, here is the story of the Wolvernies a group of high school students forced to become gorilla war fighters at the Instruction of an Iraq War Hero.

 
Photo from IMDb

In this version of the film the core foundation of the Wolverines is a bit different. The original crew returns from left to right we have Jed Eckert portrayed by Chris Hemsworth, Toni Mason (Adrianne Palicki), Jed's brother Matt (Josh Peck), Robert (Josh Hutcherson), Toni's sister Erica (Isabel Lucas), Daryl (Connor Cruise), newcomers Greg (Julian Alcaraz) with wife Julia (Alyssa Diaz) and finally Danny (Edwin Hodge). This time the group is still led by Jed, but he is a Marine war hero and not a high school graduate and they defend the Pacific Northwest of Spokane Washington from the North Koreans.

 

The core story of this film is no different than the film that inspired. Its just retold using a more modern context to the key elements. Accept this time the United States is embargoed by North Korean forces backed NATO following a economic collapse of the European Union. This time the Wolvernies have to defend the City of Spokane and their freedom from the invading Communists.


As always, I grade movies on a one to ten scale, where one is a total flop and ten is a film worthy of awards. The review is structured in three distinct areas. The story and screenplay, the performances and dialog, and the Cinematography.


The Remake of Red Dawn is in spirit the same classic film with a cult following, but leaves some who prefer each version as the better version. According to Rotten Tomatoes critics did not really enjoy this version of the flick as it currently has a "Critic Score" of "15%," but over half the audience seem to enjoy the film as average as the "Audience Score" was "51%." Critic has this to same about the new Red Dawn, "the rebooted Red Dawn lacks the original's topicality, but at least pays tribute in delivering the same short shrift to character development and general logic."

 
CRITICS CONSENSUS
The rebooted Red Dawn lacks the original's topicality, but at least pays tribute in delivering the same short shrift to character development and general logic.
 

This version of the film has almost the same exact story as the original film. Except this time NATO forces are weakened by an economic collapse of the European Union and is was North Korea that strategically isolated and invaded the United States. Ultimately leaving the Wolverines and the rest of the nation to defend their way of life.


Photo from IMDb

The Red Dawn Remake did a much better job presenting the background information to set the story up. Instead of the traditional description text sequence of the era, it presented the information is a sequence of news media clips. This was a much more immersive and effective way to deliver the back story needed to make the film's tale believable. Additionally and there is a bit of spoilers here but they put a nice touch by actually beginning the actual flick with the football game the Eckert brothers only hinted at in the original film. A beautiful nod to the film's cult classic origins.


The new intro is far superior to the original film and even with the technology of the 80s and era equivalent could have been achieved. Unlike the original film the embargo of The United States of America was believable despite the enemy being North Korea and they are not capable of such a feat. Though I heard they were, suppose to be Chinese and was changed to get their box office numbers, but still didn't air there. I would have to give the story of the Red Dawn remake a 6 out 10. This section could easily be a 7 out of 10 if you are a fan of the United States rising up against its enemies. However if you are a fan of the original it could easily drop to a 4 out of 10.

 
I would have to give the story of the Red Dawn remake a 6 out 10. This section could easily be a 6 out of 10 if you are a fan of the United States rising up against its enemies. However if you are a fan of the original it could easily drop to a 4 out of 10. - Doc Comeau
 

Moving onto the dialog and performances. I am not sure which of the two reviews you read first, but this week I reviewed both versions of this film and this version had superior dialog but the performances of the original was superior. Though armed with modern technology its hard for the original to compare to the visuals of this film.


It is not really fair to consider this in deciding what version of the film I think was better because the original could not hope to compete in that regard. Again this version has too many performances to go over, so we will focus on three. They will be Hemsworth, Palicki and Hutcherson.


Photo from IMDb

Again Jeb Eckert rises up to the level of leader, but this time it is more of a sign of expertise and wisdom rather than dominant male bravado. This is a change that simultaneously makes the story more believable and less than the original flick. Hemsworth does an excellent job as a Marine returned home from combat trying to rebuild his life being thrown back into action with a random ragtag group of civilians. Though this makes the scenario of the movie much more plausible the story benefitted greatly from the all teenage group of the original film. Though each made sense during the era of their creation and Helmsworth does an excellent job turning his friends and family is gorilla fighters.


Photo from IMDb

I chose Robert for both reviews because in both films he is the one character that goes from sheltered teen to full soldier in the most dramatic transformation. Spoiler warning, Hutcherson goes from never hunted before to drink the blood of his kill, from innocent to skilled operator and becomes a valued member of the Wolverines. However, the original Robert showed the psychological effects of prolonged warfare with no dedicated logistics structure with him counting his kills and becoming ruthless. The film benefitted from that reality of this type of combat. The choice to make the change to modern solider does detract from the spirit of the film and a break from the immersion of the tale being told.


Photo from IMDb

This time I chose the other Mason, sister Toni and Palicki had the better of the two performances here. Though in the original film the character of Toni didn't get much screen time before she met her glorious demise. Palicki's Toni was again slightly older than her counterpart in the original film, but the changes made sense to keep her as a love interest for Jeb. A relationship that was much more prominent with this version of the film. A relationship that was not even noticed in the original before the character's aforementioned death. A death Palicki exchanged with Hemsworth in this iteration of the film.


I wish I had the time to write a brief explanation of how I felt about each Wolverine's performance, but there are too many of them, across both versions of the film to discuss each performance. Therefore, I will simply say while they did not make the review each and every performance served the narrative of the story. Each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

I would give the performances here an 7 out of 10. It lost points for failing to capture the personality of the original team.

 
Each with their own strengths and weaknesses. I would give the performances here an 7 out of 10. It lost points for failing to capture the personality of the original team. - Doc Comeau
 

This section is going to be a bit different as each version of the film had a different available level of technology so it's not fair to compare them and they will have to be graded with this factored in.This version had better available technology so it had to do more to accomplish the same quality. The task of the cinematography was suppose to invoke the idea of a group of Americans defending their community from an occupying enemy. Without considering the better technology this version of the film created that much better than the original.


The original had two characters that new how to survive off the terrain and them training the others makes logical sense, but instead of using a time jump to a point where they had those skills this version of the movie accomplished that by having a video montage of training while Jeb gave his explanation about war. This combined with the montage of news clips made this the better of the two films in terms of the cinematography. These are things that could have been replicated to some degree in the original film.


I would have to give this section of the film a 8 out of 10. It beautifully told the story through mostly visual means. The scene transitions were executed flawlessly and there was no part during the flick I felt needed more explanation to understand. I would recommend this film to anyone that likes action movies and has never seen it.

 
I would have to give this section of the film a 8 out of 10. It beautifully told the story through mostly visual means. - Doc Comeau
 

It may be a subconscious lack of removing my nostalgia for the first version of this story I saw, though I think I did a good job ignoring that, this version of the film is the superior version of the film. Despite being better as a ragtag group of teenagers, this version did a much better job visually telling the story. A task that could have easily been replicated with 1980s technology. The Red Dawn Remake gets a 7 out of 10. It's an above average action film suitable for all audiences. I highly recommend anyone that is a fan of film to watch this movie.

 
The Red Dawn Remake gets a 7 out of 10. It's an above average action film suitable for all audiences. I highly recommend anyone that is a fan of film to watch this movie.
 

References


1) Flynn, B., Vinson, T., Ellsworth, C., & Passmore, J. (2012). Red dawn. IMDb/Red Dawn (2012). https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1234719/.

Archived at; https://archive.ph/SoqlP


2) Red dawn (2012). Rotten Tomatoes. (n.d.). https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/red_dawn_2012.

Archived at; https://archive.ph/AoKKa



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