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When foreign paratroopers land outside the classroom window, that's
never a good omen, and when these paratroopers turn out to be commies from
Russia and Cuba, well, that's pretty bad, and since they are commies, they
immediately start killing people (?) or putting them into reeducation
centers. However, a few schoolkids (C.Thomas Howell, Charlie Sheen, Darren
Dalton, Brad Savage, Doug Toby) led by Chad (Patrick Swayze) manage to
make it off to the woods, where they hide out relying nothing but Chad's
experience as a boy scout - and soon they start guerrilla attacks on the
enemy ... and of course we know that a bunch of American schoolkids armed
with bow and arrow are always a match for evil, well-organized commies who
have just conquered the country. Eventually, too, two girls (Jennifer
Grey, Lea Thompson) join the boys, and they soon enough act as rape bait
for our guerrillas - because we all know commies only want to rape all day
long. Eventually, they are also joined by a shot-down US-pilot (Powers
Boothe), who gives them plenty of advice, but he's also the first to die a
hero's death - because combat experience will never beat the patriotism,
heart and dedication of American schoolkids. Of course, eventually even
these dumb commies grow wise to our kids and use helicopters to hunt them
- and they kill quite a few of them, too. But then Chad leads a raid of
the commie headquarters, and ...
In the epilogue we learn that schoolkid
guerrillas all over the country toppled the commie regime and effectively
freed the USA.
As a piece of propaganda, Red Dawn is
despicable: Its messages are reactionary, its approach is 100% biased, and
it never even cares to look beneath its surface - let alone try to
understand the communists and communism, and the enemy's motives ... just
as it never explains the kids' patriotism of course.
As a piece of
action cinema, Red Dawn is hilarious, as it's of the "good
guys always win"-variety, where schoolkids with bow and arrow hit
their targets with every shot, while trained soldiers with machine guns
are unable to hit a sitting duck. Furthermore, the good guys are always
noble, while the baddies are always despicable, and they don't seem to do
anything all day but executing people.
As a piece of cinema though, Red
Dawn is completely forgettable, it's neither well-made nor
well-written nor well-acted, lacks any self-irony and is too blunt in its
patriotic antie-commie message - which of course makes this film
unintentionally funny in a so-bad-it's-good sort of way ... at circa 110
minutes though, it's also a bit too long to hold up its entertainment
value throughout, and also too repetitive to really keep one too
interested. Still, worth a chuckle I guess ...
this film has been remade in 2012 - which doesn't say anything about the
qualities of the original Red Dawn, but everything about the lack
of ideas Hollywood has these days. Phew!