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The strong emerging cast combined with a compelling story makes Red Dawn a strapping box-office contender in the crowed film arena. Aimed at teen to twenties mixed viewers, the movie should attract a solid following for the long haul. Although a remake, this recreation of the 1984 hit with the same title has all the action elements that should press the target audience’s adrenaline buttons.
Set in the state of Washington an attack from North Korea puts a city in peril when Spokane gets taken over by the Asian Country. A band of teens lead by returning war veteran Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth) go into the nearby mountains escaping the threat of death and trying to figure out what they can do to help their families, friends and towns people. With his brother Matt (Josh Peck) the local high school team’s star quarterback, Robert (Josh Hutcherson) a student who knows computer and communications, the mayor’s son Daryl (Connor Cruise) and Matt’s friend Danny (Edwin Hodge) they form a bond. When they start making attempts at rescuing their fellow citizens, they find it tough going and almost impossible.
The fictional story has a gripping plot that’s very possible in reality due to the escalation of North Korea’s atomic power, their decaying relationship with the United States and our proximity to the Asian Country. I enjoy Red Dawn’s action, intrigue, guts and tenacity that the fugitives show in the film. Much like the original Red Dawn their valor gains audience allegiance eliciting cheers at the resolve.
Noted film stuntman Dan Bradley uses his first time at bat in the directorial ring to meld the fine cast together, provide them with an excellent cinematography crew and guide their acting ability to very good performances. With Hemsworth, Hutcherson, Peck, Palicki, Lucas and Cruise he makes his film explosive and younger crowd appealing. Using a lot of stunt work, hand to hand combat, war resistance armament and aggressive character development, Red Dawn ramps excitement seekers. He even works in some light comedy in order to ease the incessant tension created by the plot line.
While Red Dawn works as an ensemble effort, a standout acting job by supporters Brett Cullen as local police chief and father of the Eckert kids’ and Will Yun Lee who plays the unyielding North Korean field leader Captain Lo, keeps the film on track. Bringing the threat with a determined plan, Captain Lo invades the hillside outpost with abandon, using mortars, grenade launchers and rockets to flush out the Wolverine rebels. Chief Eckert however, keeps Captain Lo off balance refusing to aid the insurgents while feeding the Wolverines intelligence and encouraging a revolt.
The original Red Dawn in the mid 1980’s increased the value of actors Patrick Swayze (Ghost), Charlie Sheen (“Two and ½ Men”), C. Thomas Howell (The Amazing Spider-man) and Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing) and it should do the same for teens to 20s heartthrobs Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki (“Friday Night Lights”) and Isabel Lucas (Immortals). The acting crew especially Peck (Voice of Eddie in the Ice Age films), Connor Cruise (Seven Pounds) and Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) continue making their way to stardom. With their fine performances here in Red Dawn they’ll surly ramp up their teen awareness barometers.
Red Dawn has been rated PG-13 for sequences of intense war violence and action, and for language. There is also some Korean dialogue in the film with English subtitles provided.
“We inherited our freedom, now it’s up to all of us to fight for it.”- Challenge posed by Jed Eckert of the Wolverines.
FINAL ANALYSIS: An action filled adventure showing homeland courage. ★★★★★★
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