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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Red Dawn (1984)


When in doubt, always trust The Swayze.

It is the dawn of World War III. In mid-western America, a group of teenagers bands together to defend their town and their country from invading Soviet forces and also try to fend themselves off of each one another as well.

So, after about 4 years of being in post-production, the remake to this 80 classic is finally coming around and to celebrate (if that’s what you call this review) the arrival of it, I’m going to go back to the days when times were simpler, and hell of a lot cheesier. Big, big mistake on my part.

Back in the 80’s, it really seemed like America was paranoid as hell by the Ruskies and what they were going to do to us next, which makes it all the more reason why this film should have just had a whole bunch of more fun with itself. Seriously, when you see a premise that includes a bunch of young kids with AK-47’s, going around and shooting up the Soviets, you should be expecting a whole bunch of ridiculous fun that continues to get better and better as the flick goes on. However, that’s barely the case here and instead, we get a lot of moping, sadness, and total seriousness from everybody involved. I get the fact that maybe the idea back in the 80’s of us getting invaded wasn’t such a funny, little joke like we can sort of have now, but there wasn’t anything here at all to lighten-up the mood at all. Everything is taken as if it really was happening, with real people, real situations, and real guns. If I wanted to see something like this being real, I would go to Russia myself with a bunch of guns and start shooting up the place. When I go to the movies, I expect non-fiction fun and a whole bunch of it, as well.

See, even though the serious-approach to this story may be bad, it gets even worse when you consider the screenplay everybody has to work with here. This is some god-awful screen-writing that starts off corny, gets cornier, and just ends up being downright laughable by the end of it, but not just because of the lines these characters use, but because of what the writers and director behind this movie try to get us to care about. The scenes with the whole army of wolverines together, didn’t do shit for me as half of the time as when they were just sitting around, eating beans, and crying about how they miss their mommy and daddy. I don’t think a single conversation went by without one of them breaking down into a full-out cry-fest as if they just got done watching Marley & Me. Yeah, it’s pretty sad but come on, your shooting the freakin’ people that killed your mommy and daddy so be happy and put a smile on if you can and keep on nuking. Then, the film tries to have it both ways by trying to develop and have us sympathize with the evil characters from the Russian side, but it works for these characters, just like it works for the others: to no avail whatsoever. Basically, we are just left watching the movie without any real human-connection whatsoever and it’s pretty obvious that the film-makers were just depending on the cool premise and right-wing approach the whole time.

Then again, who needs substance, when you can just blow shit up for 2 hours?!? That’s pretty much what this film was asking, and you can totally tell because of the action is pretty solid, in terms of 80’s action glory. I don’t know if this matters at all in today’s day and age of NC-17 movies coming out every month, but this was one of the first flicks to ever get slapped with the PG-13 rating and has 2.23 glorious acts of violence occur every minute. Now, if that doesn’t tell you anything about this film then I don’t know what will but the explosions, gun-play, blood, killing, and warfare is pretty fun to watch and definitely where most of the film’s energy lies in. Didn’t understand why the hell the Soviets took time out of their day, just sitting around and being angry, when all they could have done was just look around for a bunch of young punks in the woods. However, though, I didn’t write this movie and thank God for that or else I would probably have to take up a job as a pizza-delivery boy for Domino’s!

The positive to this film that sort of kills all of those other bad germs is Mr. Patrick Swayze who I will never, ever say a bad thing about in any movie whatsoever. I love the guy and I loved him here, but it’s such a shame that everybody else around him just sucks the life out of everything good that The Swayze does and most of all, does with style. Seriously, you got a cast full of 80’s stars like Charlie Sheen, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, and Jennifer Grey all accompanying Swayze, and they are all so gosh darn terrible. I don’t know if it was the cringe-inducing script that screwed them over or what, but something was just not clicking here and every time one of these character’s opened their loud-ass mouths, I just prayed that a Soviet wrecking-crew would come around and blow their freakin’ heads off. I know, I know I sound like a freakin’ maniac, but they really pissed me off and I didn’t really give a shit whether or not they completed their mission (whatever that was). I just wanted them to start blowing shit up, taking names, and doing it all for the good of the country. In a way, I guess they succeeded, but damn is it a miserable time getting to that point.

Consensus: Red Dawn is an obvious flick for a cult following: it has guns, explosions, cheesy dialogue, and Patrick Swayze. Then again, though, a lot of those elements that make it so loved by a certain type of crowd, doesn’t always click so well with other viewers who just want to have some fun with a movie and not have to be bothered with a terrible script that’s unbearable at times.

5/10=Rental!!

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15 responses to “Red Dawn (1984)

  1. keith7198 November 14, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Solid review and I say that as someone who loves Red Dawn. In fact I reviewed it a couple of months ago but with a pretty different take on it.

  2. guysfilmquest November 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I like the fact that you pointed out the bad points and gave us reasons why it’s not TOO terrible to watch. A “5” sounds just about right, but I still want to see it. Nice work!

  3. jeffro517 November 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    This is one of those movies I would guess that people either love or hate. Like most of the 80s films it was aimed at making sure we Americans know that we are capable of defeating the bigger badder guys out there. I happen to love this movie despite the fact that it has some incredible cheesy moments (the Russians taking pictures in front of a sign they incorrectly translated). Thanks for the review, I’m excited to see the remake.

    • CMrok93 November 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      Thanks man! This movie’s cheesiness just got in the way of everything for me and this movie didn’t do crap for me. The remake, I guess, will be fun but that’s about it.

  4. Prof. Ratigan November 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    You don’t hear many people out there calling for dumber movies, so I was a bit surprised at this. I think the very best thing Red Dawn had going for it was to take the lives of rebel forces and make them American children and go from there. These kids are going to be traumatized by the violence they inflict. Being a guerrilla soldier means that food is hard to come by. And being a rebel is awfully ambiguous territory sometimes.

    I would agree with you that the execution even of those things was not done awfully well, but their intention was marvelous. So, when I saw the trailer for the new Red Dawn I was incredibly disappointed. Red Dawn needed to be remade not so that they could use better toys, but so they could double down on the serious matters, film it better, and deliver to better audiences than they could in the 80’s.

  5. Dave Enkosky November 15, 2012 at 1:10 am

    I actually love this movie. Because of its awfulness.

  6. Mark Hobin November 15, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Remakes are such a good excuse to check out the original movie. I recently reviewed Brian de Palma’s Carrie because of the upcoming adaptation next year. I’ve never seen Red Dawn, but I know people who really enjoy it. If you give the “classic” a 5, I shudder to think what’s you’d give the remake. I’ve seen the trailer several times already and it looks just awful.

  7. Paul George November 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    I just picked up the Bluray of Red Dawn a few days ago (hey it was $7.88). I saw it in theaters when I was in my teens and loved it. Now, well … I agree with you. Swayze gives a good performance, but has such little to work with. The film is pure Reagan-era right-wing propaganda (notice how the Commies track down gun owners by looking up records required by the government). Still, I have a strange affection for the movie.

  8. Fogs' Movie Reviews November 19, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I literally Laughed out loud when I read this line. “Then again, who needs substance, when you can just blow shit up for 2 hours?!?” :D LOL

  9. Pingback: Reviews of Movies…I’ll Never See: Red Dawn (2.0) | Eradica

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