Red Dawn (2012)

(On Cable TV, November 2013) Most remakes are useless, but this one is more useless than most.  The original Red Dawn was a product of its time: a Reagan-era jingoistic anthem that dared take an implausible premise (The United States gets physically invaded by its enemies) and run with in in full macho glory.  This time around, though, the premise is flat-out impossible enough that the film never gets past its own ability to suspend disbelief.  It doesn’t help that there’s little of value in Red Dawn: At best, it’s a by-the-number treatment of an obvious premise, with a few good action sequences and some likable young actors (most notably Chris Hemsworth) in the lead roles.  There’s practically no thematic depth: the most intriguing idea (that the Americans are suddenly forced in the insurgency role they confronted in their recent military excursions) isn’t developed beyond a brief mention, and it gets turned into patriotic pap anyway.  For a more intriguing treatment of the same basic idea, adventurous viewers are advised to take a look at the 2010 Australian invasion film Tomorrow, When the War Began, which isn’t all that good, but certainly feels more interesting than this limp American effort.

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