The world is full of questionable remakes, movies that are typically referred to as ''critic-proof,'' but some are simply audience-proof. The 2012 remake of Red Dawn is one such film. There is no reason on earth for this film to exist.
The original, which starred Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey and Charlie Sheen as teens fighting Soviet invaders and their allies, is not an untouchable bastion of political relevance or even good filmmaking. That's not the issue. The problem with this remake is not just its relevance or lack thereof, but it's just dumb. South Park has more insight into today's political landscape and is funnier and smarter than this mess while Team America: World Police has more exciting action. In case you forgot, the actors in that movie are all puppets.
The team behind the 2012 Red Dawn cared so very little for their subject that the original script cast the bad guys as Chinese, a choice that later had to be changed to North Korea lest overseas governments and, perhaps more importantly, audiences would take offense. (Let's not forget that the most dismal action films earn the majority of their box office bucks overseas, which is apparently reason enough for studios to greenlight them.) The xenophobic Red Menace of the '80s has no place in 2012 cinema, and what's more, simply switching one Asian people for another and changing their flags and other insignia (as well as the very scarce dialogue) in post-production is simply flabbergasting. It would be laughable if it wasn't so irresponsible.
The only real standout is Chris Hemsworth, whose action star status is motivation enough for studios to dust off old movies and try to fast track them. (Red Dawn wrapped in 2009 and got lost in the shuffle of studio bankruptcy.) It feels almost unfair to pick on the cast of the movie, who try to do the best they can with a dismal script and direction. Josh Peck plays Hemsworth's onscreen brother, an unlikely pairing with Peck looking more like his stoner character from The Wackness. It's easy to see that all of the actors, from Josh Hutcherson of The Hunger Games to Adrianne Palicki of Friday Night Lights, signed on to boost careers on the rise. It's as embarrassing to watch them go through the motions as one might imagine it is for them to be associated with Red Dawn now.
Sure, these plucky kids are trying to save America! from invading forces, but it is so hard to care. If this is the best we have to offer, please, take it.
Hollywood.com rated this film 1 star.