The trailer for the long-delayed Red Dawn remake is here, and it immediately establishes a different tone from that of the 1984 original. Outlined with some young faces that have since risen to stardom - Chris Hemsworth (Thor 2/Avengers), Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games), Adrianne Palicki (G.I. Joe 2), Isabel Lucas (Transformers 2) - and others about to break into stardom - Josh Peck (ATM), and Tom Cruise’s adopted son, Connor Cruise - Red Dawn (2012) looks like a gritty, high-octane, action-over-substance re-imagining of the '80s version.
For those unfamiliar, Red Dawn (1984) told the story of high school teens living in a small Colorado town that is, without warning, overrun by an invading army. With their parents and guardians all trapped in internment camps (or worse), a group of teens (led by Pactrick Swayze’s character, Jed Eckert) abscond into the woods and form a rebel group called “The Wolverines,” named after their high school mascot.
The Soviet threat has been updated for the remake; the new Wolverines will face the threat of a North Korean strike force. As you can see in the trailer, Red Dawn could be well worth the wait - at least, for action fans. Stunt coordinator Dan Bradley will be making his directorial debut with this remake, but his resume (Bourne 2, 3 & 4; Spider-Man 2 & 3) is perfect explanation for the abundance of action sequences, gunfire, and explosions glimpsed in that trailer.
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While the new Red Dawn could indeed stand to improve the action quotient of the original, the '84 version was also bolstered by some great character arcs and drama delivered by actors like Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey and Lea Thompson - not to mention Superfly himself, Ron O'Neal, as the nefarious Colonel Ernest Bella. Does this new cast have the acting chops to convey the hardship of war and freedom-fighting, as shouldered by teens? Hemsworth and Hutcherson have proven they do - the others...
Like the recent Total Recall remake, there's a chance that what we'll get with Red Dawn is another bang and flash special effects adrenaline rush, which (while superficially enjoyable) is totally devoid of the essence of what made the original so enjoyable in the first place. Of course, for some, hearing Thor proclaim that youngsters must fight for their freedom will be rousing enough to make the over-the-top action even more effective and worthwhile.
Red Dawn will finally be in theaters on November 21, 2012.