The original RED DAWN is best remembered as a fun, gung ho relic of its time. And for featuring the late Patrick Swayze on a horse with semi-automatic weapons protecting America. There's really no point in remaking this movie without the Cold War paranoia, contemporary sense of patriotism or Swayze. And that's what RED DAWN 2012 feels like—pointless.
In the 1984 film, John Milius played off American cinemagoers' waning fear of Communism, creating a fantasy worst-case scenario that was probably on the back of many minds. Sadly, there's nothing relatable about this modern version; the situation presented here is just stupid beyond repair. Despite what the heavily-edited opening segment featuring President Obama would suggest, there's just no way in hell anything like this is possible in this day and age, and RED DAWN '12 doesn't even attempt to explain or cover it up. One minute the North Koreans are flying their planes and parachuting soldiers in, and in the next scene they've already taken over the entire town and set up a complex new society without any interference from the United States military.
Even ignoring all the stupidity, as an action movie, RED DAWN is incredibly inert and by-the-numbers. There's not much in the way of exciting or well-executed sequences, despite director Dan Bradley's resume as a talented stunt coordinator and second unit director—just lots of aimless gunfire and explosions. Even worse, nothing is ever hard for the Wolverines. There's a two-minute training montage and then all the young teens are all immediately badass guerilla warriors who are completely unstoppable, except for when they take a break from freedom fighting to refuel at Subway. When Josh Hutcherson stands on top of the building and gets everyone chanting the legendary "Wolverines!" line, it's laughable more than inspiring.
The only thing this movie has going for it, by complete dumb luck, is the cast. Sitting on the shelf for four years was sadly the best thing that could've happened to RED DAWN because in that time their young stars turned out to be Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Wonder Woman (Adrianne Palicki ), Peeta from HUNGER GAMES (Josh Hutcherson), The Comedian from WATCHMEN (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and THE WACKNESS' Josh Peck. It even has Tom Cruise's son! Sadly the script completely fails the actors by never getting to know their characters. You know that two of them are brothers (though they couldn't look more different), a couple of them are dating, and some of them are expendable minorities. And that's about it.
A DVD and Digital Copy are included, but no special features. Not even a trailer.
The only good part of the 2012 RED DAWN is that it makes you want to rewatch the original 1984 film to see it done much, much better.
Extra Tidbit: The invading army was originally Chinese but changed to North Koreans because Hollywood loves China now. The filmmakers just changed all the flags and redubbed the Asian guys' voices. That's not racist at all!