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John Ary On That RED DAWN (Remake)!!

John Ary here with a look at the remake of 1984's Red Dawn.  
I absolutely loathe this film.  It embodies everything we've come to expect from the mass-marketed, regurgitated studio-system drivel that has become the norm at our local multiplex.  Instead of the original's gritty take on a group of teenagers who learn how to become guerrilla soldiers over the course of a long winter, this one seems to take place over a few weeks, with the kids learning all of their military skills with a two-minute training montage early in the film.  
That's just one of the ways this film takes the original material and attempts to streamline it in the hopes of getting a PG-13 rating.
Red Dawn releases November 21.  For more video news, reviews and interviews subscribe to the AICN Youtube channel and follow me on Twitter.

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:25 p.m. CST

    The original hasn't aged well

    by simndermot

    The original isn't as good as I remember it. That doesn't make this one any more relevant.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:26 p.m. CST


    by robertplant

    Fuck your YouTube reviews. I come to this side to READ reviews.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:28 p.m. CST

    No suprises, really

    by albert comin

    Good review, Mr John Ary. There really is not much to be said about this movie, is there? Of all the movies to remake, this? Makes no sense, really.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:31 p.m. CST

    This will be one of the worst movies ever...

    by Andrew Coleman

    It just doesn't seem to understand even what it is. On top of that they pussied out by not having the Chinese as villains. North Korea makes no sense what so ever. Especially with new reports coming out that the North Koreans don't even have half the military we thought they did. On top of that the fact the kids in this movie just instantly know how to fight a war is beyond stupid. Sorry this trash is being aimed at old white retards in the mid west. People who eat up that shit. The concept that a bunch of white kids could kick the ass of an Asian trained military is beyond stupid. Sorry the youth in America is too busy facebooking and tweeting and taking drugs to stand up and fight. If you're even thinking of seeing this... Do yourself a favor and see Dredd 3D instead.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:32 p.m. CST

    @Mr simndermot

    by albert comin

    Part of the charm and the reason why the original works is the specificity of the time it was made. That movie works in the context of the cold war that was still going (and thanks to Ronald Reagan's alzeimer influenced political decisions it seemed to heat up), and as such, it is a movie of it's time. And the movie works regardless of it's time too, because the themes that John Milius put in it are timeless. What would anybody do for your country if occupied? And is the effort worth of the toll it takes on the people? All themes the movie explores and offers no single answer. This remake can go get fucked. North koreans invading the USA? I buy that for a dollar!!

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Eh, Imma still see it.

    by Dharma4

    I like the cast. -Namaste-

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Agree with simndermot. John Ary, the original has the same problems!

    by aceattorney

  • this movie looks like pure MTV

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:38 p.m. CST

    Agree with scirocco

    by tk863

    They should have updated it with the invasion occuring whilst the Gen-whatevers are plugged into their music and facebook/tweeting away, completely oblivious to the invasion force on the streets outside...

  • No way on Earth I'll drop theater money for this, but there's always VOD...

  • ...and yeah, the original has not aged well. Total cheesefest with horrible acting and action.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:44 p.m. CST

    @Mr darth busey

    by albert comin

    And that was the stupidiest way to win the cold war imaginable (he didn't just bankrupted the USSR but the USA as well). And we are still paying the price today, and by we i mean THE WHOLE FUCKING WORLD!

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:46 p.m. CST

    The original had a few very good moments

    by Raptor Jesus

    This new one I will avoid like the plague.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:47 p.m. CST


    by simndermot

    I have no problems with the themes at all. The acting is pretty meh and it plays about as well as an episode of the A-team. Still, I love John Milius and think it was a cool concept. Thanks for the reply though, it was well thought out and intelligently presented.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Not suprised

    by sengoksa

    This is what happens when Thor gets a haircut ... actually the Aussie version isn't half bad and I suspect a lot better than this crap.. Tomorrow, when the world began... I think though I may be wrong the invaders were Chinese in Origin...

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:49 p.m. CST

    I will be seeing IRON SKY, that movie looks like it got it right

    by Spandau Belly

    If you're going to make a tasteless paranoid right-wing fantasy, you can at least have the good sense to make it fun. The original RED DAWN was just terrible, and this remake actually looks like they found a way to make it even worse.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 1:51 p.m. CST

    The first one has aged just fine.

    by Royston Lodge

    The people who hate the original today are the same sort of people who would have hated it when it first came out. So sez me.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:01 p.m. CST

    The original was not a very good movie, and it was PG-13

    by murray_hamilton

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:04 p.m. CST


    by Doug Rasmussen

    No truer words have been spoken here.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:04 p.m. CST

    A remake of a stupid movie

    by Bill Binkelman

    Neither the original nor the remake makes any sense in the most basic way. The US is WAY too large and WAY too isolated (by oceans on either side) to even attempt an invasion. We have a fully armed populace (to say the least) and police forces (in larger cities) with munitions and armament similar to the military. Let's just suppose that an invading force could establish a beachhead or HQ here. Then what? If you are inland, you are cutoff. No one can airdrop you supplies since the Air Force still exists. If you are on the coast, you can be driven into the sea. Etc. Think about the lack of logic in trying to take over even a portion of the US. What part would you try? The bible belt to control grain (good luck - Iowa and Nebraska is a pretty big area to maintain control). Washington DC and the political hub? Yeah, like there's no guns on the streets of DC. NYC to cripple the business sector? Uhhh, you saw how the city mobilized for 9/11, right? And you can go on and on. I had a debate with the missus about Pearl Harbor once. Now, back then, crippling the US Fleet and then attempting a landing in California might have made some sense, given where we were technologically, etc. But even during the time period of the original Red Dawn, what exactly was the next step in the occupying forces game plan? There is no central transportation hub in this country, no central communication hub, no central armed services hub, etc. The US is simply too big to invade. And even if you do somewhat successfully invade...what is the goal? What's your end game? It's the stupidest concept for a movie plot I can think of. The most outlandish SF plot makes more sense.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:06 p.m. CST

    I'm a sucker for the original...

    by John Ary

    Here are a few reasons why: 1) It's bloody. The violence is brutal and each death has some weight to it. From the initial killings of the soviet soldiers at the monument to the nihilistic ending, there are consequences to the actions of both the teens and Russians. 2) The teens learn how to fight over a long period time in a somewhat organic way. They change from snot-nosed brats into an elite killing force. Their pathos is earned as each character becomes hardened during the long cold winter. 3) There is strategy involved in their missions. The guerrilla warfare displayed makes their military win streak somewhat believable. The remake chose not to incorporate any of these facets into the new film and it suffers for it.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:06 p.m. CST

    Seriously? Don't touch my Wolverines!

    by Doug Rasmussen

    I'm sorry, I just despise remakes of movies that aren't broken, and North Korea? Really- they're about as threatening as Edward Cullen at this point. Plus... Does Chris Hemsworth REALLY need to be in EVERY movie made these days? Who's his agent anyway, Rumplestilskin???!!!!! I'm renting the '84 version with Leah Thompson, Jennifer Grey and P. Swayze in its place. THAT is classic nostalgia all the way.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:10 p.m. CST

    If you need your Soviet vs US fix

    by LandWaster

    Play the strategy game "World in Conflict" from a few years ago. Takes place in 1989 with the soviets invading the west coast. You control US forces trying to push them back and was pretty well done. Lots of tanks, helicopters, and explosions. An expansion had a campaign from the Soviet perspective.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:11 p.m. CST

    The original was true dog shit anyway


    I was 11when the first turd came out and it was boring as fuck. My mate loved this and a complete waste of time called salute the jugar. I never trusted his opinion again.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:28 p.m. CST


    by ShogunMaster

    Why are you pissed off about the logic not making sense in this movie? Who cares of the N. Koreans don't have the military to pull this off or how hard it would be for a standard military force to make it into the states without getting nuked on the shores? Logic is not the problem here. The Indiana Jones films don't make logical sense, Star Wars doesn't, Lord of the Rings, etc. Logical isn't the issue as people will suspend logic if they are EMOTIONALLY involved. That is the failing here with this or Transformers or Battleship or whatever. People will allow you to throw logic out the window if you know how to make them Emotionally attach to your characters and the situation they are in. Back in the day, it was less about the what and all about the who. I wish Hollywood would remember that so we could actually FEEL something at the movies other than regret at another $12 thrown down the drain..

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:28 p.m. CST

    PG-13 films on the 80's would get an R today

    by the_rising

    You cannot show bullet hits today. Never mind that PG and PG-13 films like RED DAWN and FIREFOX had bullet hits in them. Today, that is a no-no. The MPAA sucks.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:33 p.m. CST


    by John Ary

    Very true! Violence was treated much different back in 1984.

  • If the story is bad and the acting worse, then by all means flame on RD 2012; but don't tell me it's bad just because it doesn't hold up to the original. Christ I hate when reviewers can't judge a film on its own merits; always have to compare it to something else.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:42 p.m. CST

    I'm glad that Ary at least gave a text summary

    by mr.underwater

    But I'm with robertplant. I don't watch Harry's weekly thing, and I never look at Ary's video reviews.

  • To be fair, this was made long before these days (I think around 2-3 years ago)

  • of Alaska? Or was it "Red Dawn"? Or maybe some other '80s Cold War invasion movie?

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:58 p.m. CST

    Those who don't like the original...

    by HellKing

    You wouldn't happen to be Republicans? I watched the original when it first came out and it was just fun action. Then I watched it post Iraq War and a lot of the stuff said in the original can be said of the US playing the Soviet Union role in Iraq.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Thats not the problem

    by magnetoelectric

    Red Dawn?!? I know that ! Didnt C Thomas Howell lose his shit in that?

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:05 p.m. CST

    edryder: No, you're thinking of Soul Man.

    by tomandshell

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:09 p.m. CST

    I'm calling pre-crime on you

    by magnetoelectric

    If the wrong person read that someone might remake soul man.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:10 p.m. CST

    They should've gone ultraviolent as a real invasion would be.

    by HarrysNemesis

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:30 p.m. CST

    Fuck Red Dawn, where's my Invasion USA remake?!

    by Bartleby T. Scrivener

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Still hating the AICN video.

    by kdoc13

    Just saying, text loads faster and is easier.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Red Yawn!!...

    by Darkness

    This film has been in limbo (and not because of MGM`S financial plight) due to it being, well...crap. Milius' version was okay, but it sure as hell did not constitute the need for a remake. I mean, come on: The enemy was changed from China to North Korea in post-production. I mean, come on. This movie is offensive crap of the highest order. No wonder America has enemies.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:12 p.m. CST


    by lightstorm22

    The original was good in the way Flash Gordon was good. Bad movies that I love. It has been a while since I saw the original but not that long ago and it aged just fine to me. BOYS! AVENGE ME!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:42 p.m. CST

    I've actually grown to like the original

    by Ash Talon

    I was never much of a fan of the original Red Dawn when I was younger. I've grown to like it, as I've gotten older. I think some of the performances are fine. They're teenagers thrust into a very dangerous setting. They would be all over the place emotionally. The events in the film take a toll on them emotionally and most of them don't survive. They don't hold off an entire army as much as use skirmishing tactics to frustrate them. Once you get past the set-up, it's actually an interesting take on the toll of an insurgency on both sides of the conflict.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 5:24 p.m. CST

    I've actually grown to hate the original.

    by Baked

    The only thing it has going for it is an amusing sense of overwrought melodrama and watching obnoxious kids freeze to death. So...this remake is basically a less-interesting remake of "Tomorrow When the War Began?" except without an Asian kid to remind us that not all Asians are evil? I'll pass. Although there was something amusing in watching Cubans parachute into the Rocky Mountains because John Milius is an idiot.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 6:30 p.m. CST

    royston lodge is right. The first one is great.

    by Nichole

    If you don't like it you are obviously, a commie scum sucking mother fuck. This is one remake, I refuse to watch. As an American.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 6:39 p.m. CST

    It's a shame the only reason this movie is being released is

    by Phategod2

    Because the Stars of the movie are now movie stars. Before They were nobodies and there was no reason to release this garbage movie, now there is money to be made of the backs of these guys names regardless of the quality.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 7:14 p.m. CST

    Reagan Won the Cold War By Outspending USSR? WTF

    by Obi Wanna Cannoli

    I love that myth spread first by Reagan and his Administration and then the GOP over the years. The failure of the USSR was due to internal failures brought about by decades of Soviet mismanagement. For Reagan to take claim of winning the Cold War because of his overspending of our tax payer money is insulting. It is just one act of political self bravado. Call it Reagan's "Mission Accomplished".

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 7:14 p.m. CST

    They'll make crap like this but they won't make SHADOW 19?

    by Darth_Kong

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 7:27 p.m. CST

    Milius could fucking write

    by Flippadippa

    Bottom line.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 7:58 p.m. CST

    The Original is bad ass, one of the best movies of the 80s

    by A-COD

  • I'm surprised no one is reporting this fact. The filmmakers went back, photoshopped posters, redubbed Chinese with North Korean, reshot a few scenes to get rid of anything Chinese. Imagine the shitstorm if they had kept the original Chinese invasion! It probably would have caused WWIII. The only thing worse than this remake is that some people are actually looking forward to it. Pentagon psyops propaganda strikes again!

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 10:39 p.m. CST

    The orignal is crap. So not surprised the remake is too.

    by Jay

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 11:03 p.m. CST

    Unlikely Events

    by Rimjob

    Re: redplanet The communist invasion in the original is made at least somewhat believable by the exposition at the beginning of Milius' film in which a worst case scenario has happened. The NATO Alliance has dissolved after the Green Party in West Germany came to power and demanded the removal of nuclear weapons from Germany, communist revolutions have happened in most of South America, and the situation in Mexico has devolved into a civil war. The original 'Red Dawn' has the invasion points being the Mexican border with Texas (with the Soviet Union's South American & Cuban allies having a supply line through Mexico), and the Russians pushing across the Bering Strait into Alaska, with the plan being for those two forces to link up in the Midwest. However, American & Canadian forces stop the Russians at the Canadian border, and the Cuban & Nicaraguan armies are stopped at the Rocky Mountains. Now, all that being said, it's still pretty far-fetched, since you would have to believe the Pentagon would miss all of these troop movements, and the Cuban & Nicaraguan armies massing on the Texas border.

  • These days you can show almost anything in a PG-13 film (HANNA, THE DARK KNIGHT) short of using an f bomb. Some of you guys need a refresher on what PG-13 films used to be like. Our ratings system is a joke.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 11:46 p.m. CST

    No Thanks...

    by Squilookle

    I'll just stick with Tomorrow When The War Began. That's how you do a present day teenager guerilla movie RIGHT.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 11:56 p.m. CST

    Oh for Christ's sake people (or basic Cold War history)...

    by Sithtastic

    Now look, like I said in the other thread on this, Red Dawn, while in the first act may have seemed something of a Cold War hawk wet dream did not really play out that way. Dying of exposure and being betrayed by one of your own does not strike me as a recruiting poster. But in some respects it was at least a semi-serious attempt (in the none action moments) thinking about Americans reacting to an invasion, no matter how fantastic. This everyone on drugs? Ronald Reagan's spending was followed by a myriad of summits and disarmament treaties BUT you are all high as kites if you think the Soviets weren't pressured, regardless of the decay from within (their own fault) which had plagued them since at least the 70's, pre-Afghanistan. They were forced to the table by both factors, not one or the other. In other words we shouldn't obsess over a false dichotomy. None of that stopped them from being an aggressive, expansionist, totalitarian power bent on exerting themselves in spheres of influence. Nevermind Kruschev's secret speech, they were dismally oppressive, uncreative, and non-inovative, but there had to be something to contain them and force them to compete for influence. It didn't all happen in a vacuum. I don't know if any of you remember the late 80's, Perestroika but the re-branding (and I might add deception) wasn't the Soviets getting ready to roll over, it was just them re-branding to save the beast and failing. If time has proved anything, it's that leopards don't change their spots. So all that said, I think the new Red Dawn looks absurd and will play absurd as well. I'm going to skip it.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 2 a.m. CST

    How is this video on AICN?

    by Bass Ackwards

    Its so well done, nicely edited, thought out criticism that's well stated, I'm impressed, good review and good video! I'd stayed away from video content on a lot of sites because its usually so poorly done (slashfilm being the main culprit, it genuinely ends up being people without much to say thoughtlessly rambling into a camera phone, but other sites are just as bad, lots of video content of people just sitting around chatting with not much to say, content without content). Here's something that's actually got some work put into it other then just arranging a time for everyone to meet, I'll have to start making a point to check out Ary's stuff (which I had also been critical of in a past post simply for being a video, so this is also me eating crow).

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 6:50 a.m. CST

    @Mr redplanet (spoilers alert)

    by albert comin

    You will notice that in the original "Red Dawn" remake, the futillity of the insasion of the USa is a very important plot point all through the movie. You will notice that the tactics employe by the russians and cubans in the movie are of shock and awe, it's a blitzkrieg, inthe hopes of fast subjugation. Which doesn't work. The very notion of the USA's geographic isolation and vastness of territory constantly plays in the way the story goes. At one time, one of the wolverines, played by Charlie Sheen, wonders that all their efforts and the mountains will still remaind, unchanged. Geography is such an important element in the movie, like a 3rd character. Also notice that by the end of the movie, the cuban character, when he writes a letter home, his complains mirror many letters home writen by american soldiers in Vietnam. An alien unwelcoming country, and they fighting a futille unwinnable war. Red Dawn in it's presentation was inspired by jornalist photos from the then going on Afghanisthan War, when the soviets had invidaded the country on invitation of it's pro-soviet government. If you check out photos from that war, you will notice how close many moments in the movie are close replications of famous war photos from that war. The point was quite obvious, but it goes futher too. The movie is like a Vietnam War in reverse, where the Vietcong now are the americans, while the russians are like the americans in vietnam. The paralels are quite interesting. And this is where the movie achieves universality about war: that since the 20th century, military invasion is condemned to failure. Battles are winnable, but not wars anymore, not when it involved the occupation of a different country with an hostille population. And all takes a tremendous toll on everybody, invaders and resistants alike. This is why by the end of the movie, the movie goes even sympathetic to the invaders. In the end, the movie seems to say, everybody are victims. And the toll and price payed for a war is one that can never truly be repayed, no matter how many memorials we build. And the funny thing is, i give this passionate defense of the original "Red Dawn"and i'm quite a very left-wing guy. And this is because the original movie transcendends political division because the story it wants to tell is bigger then a mere right-winger pro-gun fantasy. But that's a testement to how good a writer John Milius is, a man too educated to just go for a simplistic action movie.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 11:36 a.m. CST

    The Original still holds up today

    by tailhook

    And comparing it to the remake is like comparing the original 60's Batman(remake) to The Dark Knight(original). New one is simply a joke of a film made by hacks and meant to fill a calendar date.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 12:45 p.m. CST

    the idea of a north korean "invasion" is beyond absurd.

    by dahveed1972

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 1:49 p.m. CST

    RE: Those who don't like the original...

    by Wyatt Elling

    Ha, I saw it for the first time a few years ago, and I actually read the movie as an over-the-top black satire on US Jingoism. Apparently that's not in any way how it was intended, but life, she finds a way.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 2:25 p.m. CST

    @bass ackwards

    by adeceasedfan

    Well said. I've never had a problem with Ary's videos, quite the opposite actually. It's good to know that some people like yourself can eat a bit of crow with dignity. Respect. I believe johnary is one of the few that can steer this ship back to glory. We've just got to give him a chance and it starts with checking out his videos which he obviously puts some work into. I will now remove my lips from his posterior.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 3:13 p.m. CST

    @Mr millermeusa

    by albert comin

    The problem is the mindlessness, you see? There is nowhere writen in stone that entertaiment has to be retard. So the movie has no excuse for being stupid, nor should that be an excuse in it's favour or an argument used against the people who are pissing on it.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 5:47 p.m. CST


    by Xiphos_2

    you do realize that for the last many decade many "youths"(good word grandpa) have been fighting in wars big and small? Christ almighty grandpa you are a stupid fuck.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 10:46 p.m. CST


    by CimmerianWarrior

    You are an ignorant retard.

  • Motivations, writing, actors appreciation for material, this will all collapse on itself like a dying star made of the densest shit in the universe.

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 8:26 a.m. CST

    Invasion USA re-make

    by DamianVonBarone

    Good idea. Bring it on!

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 2:07 p.m. CST


    by christpunchers2007

    Exactly. It's just tripe made fast for a quick buck and to further infuse the wrong type of American patriotism that we don't need in this already fucked up world.

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 2:10 p.m. CST

    I don't even understand why this movie has to be remade

    by christpunchers2007

    The original wasn't even that good to begin with. Where are the fresh ideas? Are the suits in Hollywood that scared to go with brand new directions?

  • In the age of nukes and computers, why would anyone send troops over? It's just a waste of resources. Your chance of winning is slim to none.

  • Oct. 4, 2012, 2:17 p.m. CST

    It'd be cool if there was a middle east version of this

    by christpunchers2007

    Imagine a movie about civilian Iraqis teenagers fighting off an invasion from the West. I'd pay a pretty dollar to see that. Oh wait, Hollywood would never allow it.