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Parents' Guide to

Red Dawn

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Forgettable remake has lots of explosions, war action.

Movie PG-13 2012 94 minutes
Red Dawn Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 15+

Red Dawn

This is a review for the movie Red Dawn. This movie is directed by Dan Bradley, starring Chris Hemsworth and Josh Peck. This movie is based on the 1984 movie of the same title. The basic idea of this movie is that the United States gets invaded and nearly conquered by the North Koreans. Hemsworth and Peck’s characters and a few friends create their own resistance in the Seattle area to fight the Koreans. This movie had an okay plot but viewers of the original movie would say that the plot was really weak. This movie included the Russians, they played the backers of the North Koreans. The main characters tried to kill the Russians. The viewers of the original movie know that the Russians were the enemy in the original movie and would find it flat out silly that they would be the helpers in this remake. The character development in this movie is okay at best. Peck’s character acts like a teenager like he is and then as soon as a plot twist occurs he is suddenly completely mature. Another example is that in this movie, the writers put a love story in the mix. Even though it gives the viewer the feeling of a love story amidst. That is why this movie did okay with character development but didn’t do great. This movie had good symbolism by using symbols of American culture. An example is in the beginning of the movie there was a high school football game and then at a couple points during the movie one can see a damaged American flag flying. It also shows display symbols of North Korean culture such as a mass rally and North Korean flags everywhere. This movie has great special effects compared to the older version but that comes with comparing today’s technology and the technology they had back then, this version of Red Dawn has better effects and explosions. The old version of Red Dawn had a better plot and character development than the new one. This movie is recommended for those who like war movies with some drama in it. This movie is also recommended to those who like modern movie remakes. This film is not recommended for fans who liked the 1984 version because they will be disappointed by this version. The new version of Red Dawn gets a 3 out of 5 because it does have an okay plot but has a weakness with character development which the older version had a strength in.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing
age 11+

Red Dawn (2012) Review by Shivom Oza – Low-On-Intellect, Bereft Of Action

Spokane, Washington, wakes up to the horrific sight of North Korean paratroopers dropping from the sky, with the citizens finding themselves prisoners and their town under enemy occupation. The Eckhert family finds themselves in the middle of this chaos. The story is about how the two brothers, Jed and Matt, along with their team, fight for what belongs to them. The film neither caters to the politics aficionados nor does it have enough ammunition to impress the action-film fans. It fails to throw light upon any major political issue that might have led to this sudden invasion. The out-of-place comic reliefs and the poor acting don’t serve the cause either. ‘Red Dawn’ just doesn’t make the cut. U.S. Marine Jed Eckhert (Chris Hemsworth) returns on leave to his hometown where he reunites with his father, Sergeant Tom Eckhert (Brett Cullen), and his brother, football player Matt Eckhert (Josh Peck). Matt resents Jed for having left on duty after their mother died and staying abroad for six years. So the two brothers don’t really get along! The morning after their reunion witnesses the surreal sight of their town being invaded by North Korean paratroopers. Soon, the armed troopers take charge of the entire city. Determined to fight back, Jed trains a group of young patriots, who have taken refuge in the surrounding woods, to make them guerrilla fighters. They call themselves the ‘Wolverines’, and while protecting each other, fight against the invaders to liberate their town. In the middle of it, you have an on-going love story between Matt and Erica (Isabel Lucas), an almost-blossoming-love-story between Jed and Adrianne (Toni Walsh), and recurrent ego-clashes between Jed and Matt. There are a few comical scenes thrown in as well but they’re marred by the terrible acting (courtesy Hemsworth and Peck). The story, in itself, fails to impress. Even for an action film, ‘Red Dawn’ is quite a nonsensical affair. With no backstory or information whatsoever about the North Korean invasion, it is quite bizarre to buy into the basic premise of the film. The only ‘political’ angle in the film is shown through poorly cut news bulletins and speeches by politicians during the opening credits, which fails to give any idea about the situation. The film is a re-boot of the 1984 hit, starring Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen. This concept doesn’t work anymore especially with such badly shot action scenes and such weak dialogues and characters! The direction (Dan Bradley) leaves a lot to be desired. The only positive aspect about the film would have to be its length (little over 90 minutes). Otherwise, even the supposedly BIG twist in the end will fail to engage the viewer. The film just doesn’t make the cut. If at all, wait for the television premiere. Not worth the ticket price, surely! Shivom Oza

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (26 ):

Even Hemsworth's authoritative charm can't save the lackluster material and overly subdued performances (including a truly terrible acting job by Isabel Lucas as Erica). With Hemsworth's and Hutcherson's box-office appeal, there's no doubt audiences of a certain age will want to see them fight as very different young warriors. Unfortunately, this remake, while passable for those solely interested in eye candy holding guns and spouting patriotic cheers, is in every way inferior to the original. Props are in order, however, for Jeffrey Dean Morgan and two other 40-something actors who show up for the final act as the Wolverines' experienced soldier backup.

It's not just nostalgia speaking to prefer the original; some remakes do offer an inventive twist or a realistic modernization (21 Jump Street and Let Me In come to mind). But here the powers that be decided it was OK to digitally alter the invading army's nationality from Chinese to North Korean (so they're saying all East Asians look alike?) and to not-so-subtly kill off every ensemble member of color. It's almost like watching a stereotypical horror movie -- every single black and Hispanic teen meets his or her end, but nearly all the white kids survive. And while original Red Dawn stars Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen had an authentic emotional connection and conversations, the brotherly talks between Hemsworth and Peck here feel forced and forgettable, much like the movie itself.

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