Saturday, 12 April 2014

Film Review: Red Dawn (1984)

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 and Cuban forces.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087985/?ref_=nv_sr_2 
 Filmography links and data courtesy of IMDb.

I must have been one of the few people not to see this film when it came out on video. It seems weird when I was a big fan of the so-called 'Brat Pack' films. When you look at the cast, you feel it has to be a sure-fire winner: Patrick Swayze, C Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey, Harry Dean Stanton, Powers Boothe...but I found myself far from impressed by the film, plot, script and acting.

Lets start with the plot. I don't mind the plot being far from real-a group of teenagers living rough in the mountains start defending their town from the Russian invaders. I watch films for entertainment so a far fetched plot doesn't bother me generally. But this took unbelievable to the next level. The Russians know that some kids are missing and yet even when a few of their men disappear up in the hills, it takes months for the troops to bother to go there and hunt them down. Of course the handful of kids manage to get hold of every weapon you can imagine(claymores??? anti-tank missiles???), know how to use them perfectly and can defeat platoons or squads of Russian troops. The kids are made to look as if they are the 'rebels' of Russia's Afghanistan instead of high school kids with their stunning grasp of military tactics and perfectly executed raids. Then when it is snowing, the kids suddenly have full white snow suits to camoflage them when the troops come looking for them. Seriously, come on! If you showed them going on small supply raids you could believe it but they have everything they need as soon as they need it plus the never ending supply of ammunition. 

The acting was poor, considering the cast but I put that down to the dreadful script and direction as we all know how good these actors all are. Charlie Sheen in particular seems to struggle to make something of the crap lines he is give. I thought that the girls did the better job with what they were given. A better script could have done wonders for this film.

Plus points? The action scenes were well done if you stop thinking where the weapons come from. The betrayal was a big surprise which made a nice plot twist and I did like the way things went in the final battles. The different attitudes of the Russian and Cuban commanders was interesting. However the problems with the film far outweighed the few good parts and I would not watch the film again.
star rating photo: 1 star orange-1star.jpg

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