Thursday, August 8, 2013

Red Dawn (2012)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Red Dawn (2012).

This is one of those movies which makes you wonder if Hollywood has run out of ideas. Original Red Dawn made some sense since it was made during cold war era when there was realistic enemy. For this movie the enemy was originally China, but then someone realized that chinese people go to movies and there is lot of them. Because enemy in Red Dawn has to be communistic country, they didn't have many countries to choose from. To play it safe they picked country that surely won't let this movie in theaters.

North Korea is not realistic enemy for this kind of movie. Country has a population of about 24 million and it lives few decades behind rest of the world. It is really hard to believe how they could invade country of 316 million with most advanced military, North Korea can't feed its own people. How it could invade much larger, richer and advanced country? China would have been more realistic enemy, but their money was too tempting. Not to mention that movie maker probably had to use some services provided by chinese people. At this day and age everything is so economically connected that there is hard to find good enemies for this kind of movies. Which makes you wonder why this was made.

If we forget how unrealistic the enemy is, we get movie that doesn't try to make us connect to main characters. I am not target audience for this movie. So I need something more than american football game and bar scene. Characters doesn't have any personalities. There is one kid whose personality is that he is black and mayor's son. We don't learn anything more about him. Two brothers are only ones with little bit personalities. Older is marine, who is on vacation from Iraq. Younger lost football game and loves blond girl. When someone questions why older brother is leader, he attacks the kid. Like he wasn't only one in the group trained to fight in war. No. Violence is better way. That was about all we learned from their personalities. Then there is one girl who likes older brother. When older brother accepts that girl likes him and say something positive about his brother, we know that he is going to die in few seconds. This movie is not about characters. We don't care when we learned that Mayor's Son was bugged and rest had to leave him. They just leave him with weapons and we don't see him again.

Then we get to third problem of this movie. Movie knows that it is too close to situation in Irak and Afghanistan. Older brother even mentions how they are the bad guys now. This limits what movie can do, Another thing that makes you wonder why this movie was made. Probably someone thought this could be heroic pro-american movie and then they realized during making the movie, that they can't follow the original idea for several reasons. By that time it was too late to cancel, It is like this movie couldn't do anything it wanted and we are left without anything interesting. There is no character development. Life under occupation is not shown. Our heroes can't be too heroic because that could send a wrong message. Story is uninteresting. Original movie was not a masterpiece, but it was interesting because they could do what they wanted.

This movie totally missed the thing that is most interesting to me in North Korea. How leaders can keep country isolated when they know how much better things are outside the country? Is there something structural in system that keeps everyone prisoner inside the country or doesn't elite want to let go their power even when it meant that everyone would be better off in long run? If North Korea ever invaders other country, how would solders react when they see how much better things are outside their country?

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