Willie Waffle is the movie critic for people who hate movie critics.

Red Dawn - The Wolverines Return - Review


reddawnposter.jpgIn this remake of the 1984 movie with the same name, Chris Hemsworth stars as Jed - a military vet back from the war and visiting his family in Spokane, Washington.   His father, Tom (Brett Eckert), is the local police chief and his younger brother, Matt (Josh Peck), is the hot headed, impetuous, and selfish star quarterback on the high school football team. 

Everything seems small town Americana Rockwellian idyllic until one night when the power mysteriously goes out and THE NORTH KOREANS INVADE!!!!

As the battle is waged, Jed and Matt make their getaway to a cabin in the woods, they pick up a few friends along the way (one of them is played by Tom Cruise's kid!) and decide they will fight off the North Koreans commando-style. 

Can these plucky kids save their families and their home town as they become an insurgent group trying to cause havoc at every turn?

Will Matt learn a little something about teamwork?

I can only imagine Hemsworth was sitting through the big world premiere of the film repeating over and over again, "Thank God, I am Thor, now!"  Even though it is a remake and everyone involved has tried to modernize the film and story, Red Dawn feels like an old fashioned, out of touch movie.  

While not nearly as horrifying as I anticipated, Red Dawn needs too much help to even reach the level of mediocre.  

We bought this premise in 1984 because everyone thought it really could happen. The Soviet Union was the mystical monolithic power every American was told to hate and fear.  Today's generation has been taught to fear terrorists who attack with stealth (and many in the audience might not be able to find North Korea on a map).  The entire premise was a creature of its time, and that time has passed.  No matter how much stuff you blow up, that can't change.  
Then, director Dan Bradley and the writing team blow up alot of stuff, and fumble horribly when trying to make the movie anything more than that.  The contrived subplot about the brothers being estranged and still feeling the pain of losing their mother is pathetically out of place.  Plus, do we really need a love story?  Do we need the TWO presented here? 

The emotional stuff is never enough of the story to be taken seriously, so, when tossed in from time to time, it is interrupting and intentionally sappy with little effect, so any attempt at manipulation is a failure.

Some of the moments where the team begins to attack the North Koreans will draw your interest, but Red Dawn ends so abruptly I honestly thought they might have run out of film.


1 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)

Red Dawn is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense war violence and action, and for language