Sunday, January 13, 2013

Red Dawn: Teenagers and marines to America’s rescue

(Published in City Express, The New Indian Express, on January 5, 2013)

Cast: Chris HemsworthJosh HutchersonJosh PeckIsabel Lucas, Adrianne Palicki and others
Director: Dan Bradley
Rating: 1 star
Right, you know how every now and again, Hollywood has to make a patriotic film, one that tells the world just how awesome the US Marines are? We can take that. But what I find hard to swallow is that a bunch of North Korean folks, some of whom have American accents, have the money, power and whatever else it takes to invade America, and conquer it. Whaaa...? Yes. Like, North Korea?! Yes. So, North Korea invades America, and we don’t hear from the President, Pentagon, or whatever else usually comes into the picture. No, sir, this is all about some teen American football team called ‘Wolverines’, a Marine, and some ex-Marines, who will save America from its red dawn.
I have the feeling the film was meant to be about the Chinese or Japanese or some country with the resources to actually get to America without setting off a million satellites and spy cameras beeping crazily. And then, I’m assuming Hollywood figured it didn’t want to kill its entire South East Asian market, and decided to involve the one country that wouldn’t get to see the film.
As if to acknowledge that what happens in the film isn’t a particularly likely scenario, the script says something about North Korea having help from elsewhere. And we see some poor Russian guy with a blue beret, whose only function appears to be being Russian and wearing a blue beret. I suppose it all comes together to achieve the whole America vs Communism premise, however outdated.
There’s not much to this film, except we see Thor in uniform every now and then, though he’s on holiday. And we see that the kid who played Josh in Drake and Josh has lost enough weight to gain a blonde girlfriend. And, there’s a childhood romance thrown in somewhere, and a lot of nonsense about team spirit, which no one appears to take seriously. Every now and then, a character makes a speech that is plagiarised by other characters.
However, the hallmark of a truly bad movie is when characters recover from the death of the people they love within two scenes of the occurrence. And in this film, they’re pranking each other less than a day after most of them lose most of their families. Worse, the filmmakers will have us believe a bunch of kids, whose biggest concerns are food and sex, can be trained in jungles and get good enough to defeat the invading army – using their own guns. I suppose that’s a tribute to Call of Duty.
At some point, the director appears to have realised the film has to end, though no resolution appears to be in sight. We’re blitzed through a series of impossible occurrences, and left with the suggestion of a sequel.
The Verdict: The film would have been more entertaining if it had just flashed ‘US Marines are awesome!’ on screen a hundred times, rather than put us through its storyline.

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