RED DAWN (1984)
Article 3883 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-23-2012
Posting Date: 4-1-2012
Directed by John Milius
Featuring Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson
What it is: INVASION USA updated
When Russians invade a small Colorado town as part of a coup to conquer the United States, a small band of teenage freedom fighters do battle with them.
This is the type of movie that I probably wouldn’t like in the first place; its very premise seems to promise a large degree of paranoia, flag-waving, breast-beating and emotional manipulation of a certain type that I would find rather unpleasant and tiresome, though I will readily admit that there are many others who would have no problem with it. To its credit, the movie eschews some of the more blatant manifestations of this approach; in fact, the movie seems less about “Russians invading America” per se, and more about “foreigners invading one’s homeland”, which gives it more of a sense of universality. Furthermore, the movie doesn’t preach to you, choosing instead to mostly let the actions speak for themselves. Still, the only way this one would really have worked for me would have been if it had strenuously convinced me of the reality of the invasion and the struggles of those involved. Instead, the movie seems intent on emotional manipulation, but there are too many times where the melodrama, implausibility, and lack of subtlety have the opposite effect on me; instead of drawing me in, its unreality keeps me out. Once again, those who buy into the premise from square one may have no problem with it, and those who just like action movies may be quite satisfied. Me, I’m just ready to move on to the next movie.