Red Dawn (PG-13)

Action/Adventure 93 November 21, 2012
By Nick Pinkerton
Single-mindedly action-oriented to the point where John Milius' original seems ruminative, this new Red Dawn is handled by promoted stunt coordinator Dan Bradley, whose highest accomplishment here is the heroes' initial escape through an invading North Korean army’s tightening roadblocks. The sequence rides on snap-decision adrenal instinct, with Matt (Josh Peck) off-roading the family's Dodge Ram around backyard pools and the disjointed, dashed-off design of the scene fitting the total disorientation of the experience. But once America falls and Matt's brother Jed, (Chris Hemsworth), and his nascent Pacific Northwest insurgency—called the Wolverines, after the brothers' high school football team—has been battle-tested and born again hard, Bradley sticks to the same “film the hell out of everything and hope it all shakes out in the editing booth" approach. What should be Red Dawn's centerpiece—the Wolverines' tactical assault on a police station that the occupying forces have converted into their headquarters—is scarcely more legible than the first panicked moments of takeover. Perhaps Bradley feels obliged to blitz the audience to keep us from focusing on the manifold improbabilities here. How could North Korea, a malnourished, ingrown nation of 25 million, hope to enforce martial law on the vast, densely forested and well-armed Pacific Northwest? What high school quarterback would be wearing a Dinosaur Jr. shirt in 2012? It's no surprise to learn that North Korea is a hasty, post-production substitution for the Chinese who, in the movie as initially scripted and shot, had come to collect on the United States' massive overdue debt. Soon Hollywood will have perfected the art of movies that batter no one's sensibilities, except that tiny minority who have a shred of aesthetic discrimination.
Dan Bradley Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, Connor Cruise, Jeffrey Dean Morton, Edwin Hodge Carl Ellsworth, Jeremy Passmore Beau Flynn, Tripp Vinson Film District

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