Starring Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Isabel Lucas, Josh Hutcherson and Adrianne Palicki. Written by Carl Ellsworth and Jeremy Passmore. Directed by Dan Bradley. Produced by Beau Flynn, Kevin Halloran, Vincent Newman and Tripp Vinson.
You can't watch Red Dawn and not draw all sorts of comparisons to the original, because not only was it a unique movie for its time, it launched the careers of the majority of its unique cast including Charlie Sheen and Patrick Swayze. This film doesn't quite capture the same feel or strike a chord with its audience the way the original did to achieve cult classic status, due mainly to the fact that the timing plays a big factor in the success of a film like this.
In 1984, when the original was released, tensions from the Cold War were still present and this movie exploited the fear that Americans were still experiencing at the time, making it more relevant than it seems now. The thought of an invasion happening right now is a far-fetched one, but this version does bring some new aspects to the table because of this, and is very effective in many ways.
An early scene where brothers Jed (Hemsworth) and Matt (Peck) awake to parachutes dropping out of the sky in their neighborhood is amply eerie and starts the film off on a good tone, creating a mood of chaos and confusion that engage you instantly.
North Korea has invaded their hometown and are murdering and imprisoning people left and right. And when the boys run away, they're joined by several of their teenage friends who soon form an uprising and dub themselves "the wolverines" – fighting for the freedom of their families and friends. Jed leads the pack with his military experience and throughout the film, a nice character arc is developed for Jed and Matt – Jed learns to trust his younger brother and be more understanding, while Matt matures and becomes more of a leader.
Ultimately, Red Dawn is aware of its limitations and never attempts to be anything more than a high-energy action film. The acting is fair, Hemsworth giving the strongest performance as the film's most iconic character and the film flows fairly smooth, never lingering too long on the emotional aspects of the story.