Red Yawn? oh noes….. REVIEW: How Hollywood butchered a classic to appease China

I will still be taking a platoon of earnest rag tag spitballers, a few troublemaking squirrel hunters, and at least three fully articulate and cunningly adept Eagle Scouts to the show this weekend despite the apparent selling out…..  WOLVERINES !

(WFB)  The new Red Dawn remake is a fine example of a number of dispiriting trends in the filmmaking industry. The picture was based on a brand name instead of a heartfelt original tale. The studios mutilated it in order to placate Chinese Communists. And it was served up to audiences that studios assume will eat whatever they are served.

Ever-increasing budgets and declining domestic audiences have forced studios to look for box office success abroad. “Aimed at Bangkok and Bangalore as much as at Bangor,” David Denby recently wrote in the New Republic, “our big movies have been defoliated of character, wit, psychology, local color.” He’s right.

But it is not only the adult dramas championed by Denby that have been sapped of their vitality; action films, too, have seen plot and character sacrificed for commerce.

Just compare the original Red Dawn with its remake.

Made in 1984 for a budget of a little more than $4 million, John Milius’ story of teenage American partisans fighting a Communist invasion in the mountains of Colorado during World War III was a modest financial success, with a gross of more than $38 million.

Perhaps more importantly, the original Red Dawn annoyed all the right people. The New York Times review described it as “technically proficient, emotionally infantile, politically nuts.” The picture, like Rambo, became a cultural touchstone for Reagan’s America.

Starring a platoon of then-unknowns such as Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen, Milius’ film, unlike its current iteration, at least had a plot that was somewhat plausible.

Unrest caused by a failed wheat harvest in Russia, along with the removal of nuclear weapons from Europe and communist victories in Central America, left the United States vulnerable to a Russian first strike and invasion through Mexico.

There was a dash of humor, but this was a dark picture. Red Dawn held the Guinness record for most acts of violence per minute and hinted that its female protagonists suffered a brutal rape at the hands of Communist invaders. Though Red Dawn may have been overwrought, it at least had the decency to take itself, and the audience, seriously.

Work began on a remake of the cult classic in 2008. From the start, it looked like a pure cash grab by the studio: combine a known property with a big budget and wait for the cash to roll in.  (continue reading)

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13 Responses to Red Yawn? oh noes….. REVIEW: How Hollywood butchered a classic to appease China

  1. Sharon says:

    When I heard they were using the NKs to invade, I figured it was just going to be goofy. Any one who didn’t see the original really should see it after they see this. I hate remakes, which are inherently (as far as I can understand it) simply an effort to wring some more money out of someone else’s work.

  2. Mikado Cat says:

    I say skip it, at least in the theater, plenty of better fare.

  3. jordan2222 says:

    I plan to see the remake next Tuesday but the term cult offends my sensitive Patriotic soul.

  4. akathesob says:

    Bummer!

  5. They SHOULD’of used *CHINA* as the “Bad Guys” in the “remake”, after the US Treasury defaulting on our Bonds they have bought over the years,,, NOW that would seem a pausable scenario…

  6. It would be more interesting if the NKs simply invaded Gangnam and the South Koreans fought the invaders Gangnam Style.

    • thefirstab says:

      HAHA – we were just dancing to that yesterday! If that makes no sense to some, there is a popular dance video out now – totally viral:

  7. 울버린! ( Ulbeolin ! ) – Wolverines! in Korean.

  8. They brought Jed and Matt Eckart back but not Col. Strelnikov? Shame on them.

  9. Mikado Cat says:

    At least the school didn’t have Poodles as a mascot.

  10. obsidian53 says:

    I am surprised Hollywood didn’t find a way to make the invaders, white, redneck neo nazi KKK.

  11. froggielegs says:

    I have absolutely no desire to see this remake. Some movies are better left alone and the original Red Dawn is one of them. While the studio is appeasing China with this remake, they have let down their own country. Hope it’s worth the 25% they will get from China.

  12. 1harpazo says:

    We saw the remake today. It was not as good as the original but we enjoyed it. If one looks past NK invading (Russia had captured the east coast) it seems plausible-even better if the invaders were the FEMA Corps. There was lots of patriotism in it. We came away thinking that this movie was aimed at young people. It has young actors who the young people identify with. It teaches young people that it’s good to be patriotic and to work together to fight for America. Maybe if 0bama’s FEMA corps starts a fight, the young people will rise up to fight for their country. We need to teach them to “pick up a gun and join the fight.”

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