Red Dawn Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
Combing realistic action sequences and stunts committed by characters driven by their humanity and emotions and setting them against the backdrop of potential political turmoil in a suspenseful film is a taunting task for many directors. That’s particularly true when the film is a remake of a beloved movie from an earlier generation and is being helmed by a first-time filmmaker. But helmer Dan Bradley, who made his feature film directorial debut with the upcoming action remake ‘Red Dawn’ after serving as the stunt coordinator on such action films as ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ and ‘Spider-Man 3,’ respectfully incorporated true character development into a clever effects-driven film.
‘Red Dawn’ follows Jed Eckert (played by Chris Hemsworth) upon returning home to Spokane, Washington on a leave from the Marines, as he reunites with his younger brother, Matt (portrayed by Josh Peck), and their father, Tom (played by Brett Cullen). Since Matt would rather spend time with his girlfriend, Erica (portrayed by Isabel Lucas), then with Jed, as he still blames his older brother for leaving him after their mother died, Jed reunites with an old childhood friend, Toni (played by Adrianne Palicki). But the group quickly learns to bonds when the U.S. is invaded by North Korea. Without warning, the city finds itself prisoner under enemy occupation.
Jed then takes on the leadership role with Matt, Erica, Toni and several of their other friends, including tech geek Robert (portrayed by Josh Hutcherson); Daryl (played by Connor Cruise), the son of Spokane’s Mayor and Robert’s best friend; and Danny (portrayed by Edwin Hodge), Matt’s best friend and the star receiver of the high school football team. Taking inspiration from their high school mascot, the group calls themselves the Wolverines, and band together to protect each other, liberate their town from its captors and take back their freedom. Along the way, the Wolverines are helped by Col. Andy Tanner (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his men, who are just as determined to save America.
Bradley cleverly created well-developed, emotional characters alongside impressive stunts in his updated version of ‘Red Dawn.’ While the director didn’t have as large of a budget for his action reboot as other films he has worked on, such as the ‘Bourne’ series, he was still able to include suspense-filled, surprising sequences alongside his strongly character-driven story. One early impressive sequence in ‘Red Dawn,’ which proved Bradley’s serious intent on creating a powerful action movie, was the plane scene in which North Korean soldiers parachute over Spokane. The soldiers showed no fear as they shot down the Eckerts’ neighborhood, believing the city would easily surrender to them. But Jed and Matt immediately started their fearless retaliation as they drove out of town, picking up their friends along the way.
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