By Gairo Cuevas
Theater viewing count: 0
When I was younger, my friends and I used to play war games in the apartment complex I inhabited with my parents. We were all on the cusp of leaving childhood, and entering the awkward stage of puberty-hood (you know, growing up with fur). We were enamored by the age where we didn’t care what girls thought of us while shooting fake rifle bullets and tossing imaginary grenades at one another (I was a pretty good shot). I look back at those times fondly, and know that those war-playing days rightfully belong in the past. I suppose the filmmakers of Red Dawn just refuse to grow up.
Red Dawn opens with a montage of visual political turmoil that whizzes by too quickly for anything to make sense. The point of the opening credits: North Korea is pissed off. A cheerful high school football game takes place in the small town of Spokane, Washington, and the main characters are quickly introduced. Let’s see, there’s Jed Eckert the hardcore military hero on leave (Chris Hemsoworth), Robert the cool uber nerd (Josh Hutcherson), Matt Eckert the troubled football player (Josh Peck), and Toni and Erica who are the tough sexy pretty gals (Adrianne Palicki and Isabel Lucas). After the game, the power goes out, and everyone retires home for the night. The following day, North Korea rolls into town, and chaos soon follows.
I know that movies are imaginative, and suspending disbelief is the name of the game, but Red Dawn was too ridiculous to buy into. For example, a montage in the movie is dedicated to high schoolers learning military tactics from Jed. I can believe Jed when he holds his own against the North Korean soldiers, but I refuse to accept the fact that these lazy teenagers learn enough from Jed to take down North Korean soldiers! I will always refuse!
The Wolverines, as they soon call themselves, spend the majority of the movie taking out soldiers and talking about their feelings. These guys are at war, yet still have time to annoy us with their first world problems. I wouldn’t have minded if it weren’t for the cheesy lines uttered by everyone! Also, why couldn’t the movie dive into North Korea’s side of things? The main villain, Captain Lo, seems to have a constant worried face about him. What’s his story? I bet his life path was much more interesting than these kids from Spokane, Washington. If only the filmmakers had decided to tackle both sides to create more emotional tension and suspense. Oh well.
Look, obviously this movie wasn’t for me. None of the actors conveyed emotion that matched the seriousness of the situation. Everything about the story is too playful, which is why the scene with the murder of Jed’s father doesn’t hit home. If he doesn’t seem to care, then why should I care? Why should anyone?