Take A Stand With "Red Dawn"

Daniel Kendi ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff 

Connor Cruise and Josh Hutcherson in a still from “Red Dawn.” Photo via thefilmstage.com.

Many film remakes do not reach the bar that was set by the original. These films may be modern retelling of an older film’s story, but they are not necessarily better or as good as the original film. Sometimes though, a remake comes along that makes the story relevant in the modern day and creates a new generation of fans. Films like J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek respect the original films, but also expand on them in new and exciting ways. These rare remakes are as good as or even better than the original film. Red Dawn is a great remake that both expands on the original film’s story and makes it relevant today.
In 1984 audiences were introduced to the original Red Dawn, a film that showed Americans what World War III could have been like. In the film, Cuba and the USSR cooperatively invade the United States and take over much of the country. While this plot made sense for the time it was made in, it would not fit as well today. In the new version of Red Dawn the United States is taken over by North Korea, a situation that relates better to the present day.
Red Dawn follows the story of the Wolverines, A group of students who decide to fight back against the North Koreans. Leading this group are brothers Jed (Chris Hemsworth) and Matt Eckert (Josh Peck). Jed, a member of the military, rallies together young adults and creates a resistance group known as the Wolverines to combat the North Korean army. The Wolverines, named after Matt’s high school football team, use guerilla warfare tactics to try to win back their home.
While the original Red Dawn had a great story, it felt unrealistic and exaggerated. In the original film Jed is not in the military, but is somehow able to create military like strategies and lead the Wolverines like he has experience doing this. This generation’s Red Dawn fixed this problem by putting Jed in the military. In the beginning of the film he is visiting home and when the attack starts he is able to use his experience to save his brother and his friends. Jed is able to lead the Wolverines successfully because he knows what being on a battlefield is like. He knows what to do in tough situations. Adding this to the film, the writers made the whole situation more realistic.
One big difference from the original film was the character of Matt. In 1984’s Red Dawn, Matt is an underused character. His relationship with his brother is not fully explored and there is nothing that really separates him from the rest of the Wolverines. In the remake though this changes. Matt is given a much larger part and is made more interesting through his relationships with his brother and girlfriend, Erica (Isabel Lucas). Another improvement from the original film is the characters of Toni (Adrianne Palicki) and Erica. In the original film, these characters are introduced halfway through the film and are barely given much screen time. In the remake these characters were rewritten to have stronger relationships with the rest of the Wolverines and more active parts in the story.
This film was mainly focused on the action, but many of the performances were very good. Chris Hemsworth did a great job as Jed and Josh Hutcherson provided hilarious comic relief as Robert. His character has a great scene in a Subway restaurant and a hilarious twist on the blood drinking scene from the original film. Hutcherson’s character also had one of the greatest lines in the film. When another character mentions, ‘I miss Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’ he replies “Dude, we’re living Call of Duty…and it sucks.” The only real problem with this film was Josh Peck as Matt. While he was able to play the character pretty well, this is not the kind of genre he should be acting in. During dramatic scenes it felt like he was overacting and it was very hard for the audience to look past his comedy roots.
Red Dawn is a film that takes it predecessor’s story and expands on it in new and exciting ways. While the film has some flaws, it is able to succeed by remaining a great action film. If you want a dose of action and patriotism this holiday season, go see Red Dawn.

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