Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games), and Isabel Lucas (Immortals) deliver a full arsenal of pulse-pounding excitement in this explosive action-adventure! The unsuspecting citizens of Spokane, Washington, wake up one morning to the shocking sight of foreign paratroopers dropping from the sky in a surprise attack on the United States. Soon the entire city is under enemy control, but a group of courageous teenagers has decided to fight back, by waging an all-out war against the invaders, to take back their town - and their freedom!
Those parachutes floating quietly down over the skies of Spokane are disconcerting, to say the least. For good reason: that's the advance force of the invading North Korean military, who have nothing less than the occupation of the U.S. of A. in mind. That's right, the North Koreans; because the Soviet fighters of the 1984 version of Red Dawn have gone the way of the Cold War, this 2012 remake looks to Kim Jong-un's isolated regime as the 21st-century Commie menace. As before, it's up to a group of local teens--you know, the Wolverines--to lead the resistance; Chris Hemsworth and Josh Peck step into the roles played by Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell in the original. All of which could still have some jingoistic survivalist appeal, if only the remake weren't executed so ham-handedly. The action might be lively, but the dialogue scenes are staged as though nobody in the movie had ever spoken before. Each character has a single note, and the actors--including Adrianne Palicki, Josh Hutcherson, and Tom and Nicole's kid Connor Cruise--tend to play the intensity card. If the David vs. Goliath fantasy still works, great; otherwise, stick with the '84 version, which at least had director John Milius's craftsmanship on display, however absurd the story might have been. (Footnote to film history: this version of Red Dawn was shot with the Chinese identified as the invaders, then altered in postproduction to shift to North Koreans. Fear of losing the Chinese market proved a greater argument than plausibility, if plausibility comes into play in these circumstances.) --Robert Horton