So I got ahold of the script for the upcoming Red Dawn remake from MGM, and thought I’d try to give you a scoop on as much as I can without spoiling the whole movie. Generally speaking, the story isn’t bad, but the dialog is a cliché-ridden mess, and a lot of the action sequences are only half written or fuzzy from a physics standpoint. It’s hard to imagine how they’d shoot a lot of them unless they use that “cause-blur-effect” style shaky-cam editing, but considering the director did stunts on Bourne and was the second-unit director on Quantum of Solace, that’s probably exactly what they’ll do. Other stuff:
In the original it was the Soviets invading Colorado, this time it’s the Chinese invading Spokane. Because of tensions with Taiwan, and anger about a worldwide financial crisis caused by the U.S., and uh, because Russia doesn’t like Georgia getting accepted into NATO. Or something. The main thing is that Chinese people are the bad guys and a lot of them die.
There’s a sizable portion of the script devoted to a training montage in the mountains, plus a few crucial moments that involve jumping across gaps and going from building to building. If that doesn’t turn out to mean parkour, I’ll eat my Tapout shirt.
Who knows how much of it will make to the final cut, since I’d bet good money that they’ll be aiming for a PG-13, but as I said, a lot of Chinese people die, and there are plenty of “so-and-so gets his face blown off!” moments in the script. And I like that. Oh, and as a funny aside, like 70% of the set directions end in a an exclamation point. Like: Bob goes to the store, only… it’s full of CHINESE SOLDIERS! He ducks under the counter but… they shoot him in the face! I’ll admit, it does keep things exciting.
I realize it just wouldn’t be Red Dawn without a right-wing undercurrent, but even given that, there’s some pretty weird sh-t going on here. The script revolves around brothers Jed and Matt — Jed’s a Marine who just got back from Iraq and Matt (Josh Peck, last we heard) is his high-school quarterback brother. At one point, Jed makes a weird crack about CNN in front of some pussy-liberals-who’ve-never-been-to-the-front-lines! types. But then later he teaches his high-school-kid resistance posse some of the guerilla warfare tactics he learned from the enemy in Iraq — which is sort of an interesting angle, probably the most interesting thing about the script, but of course they don’t really follow through on the implications of that. Fine, so it’s an homage to a dumb 80s movie. I get it. But at another point the kids are listening to the radio free America station, and a caller dedicates a song to them, and the song is… drumroll… Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue.”* And this is supposed to be, like, a “moment.” Actual quote: “To all of you out there on or behind the front lines, this is your song!” (*hurl*) Probably the most vomit-inducing scene since Cynthia Nixon got naked in the Sex and the City movie.
Oh the clichés. Remember “no signal“? That’s in there. As is cool guys don’t look at explosions. Then there’s “I’m gonna draw them away and hope they take the bait!” Not to mention “shell-shocked guy”, the dad who sacrifices himself for his kids, the nerd who turns out to be good at something because he was good at a video game, and my favorite, “Be strong for the dead guy, Julie! Dead guy would’ve wanted you to be strong! He’s watching you, you know!”
There are some fun moments. Will they be drowned out by the cheeseball crap? Yeah, probably. With smarter dialog, it could be a fun movie. And if the director takes a more self-aware approach to the lamer, more “stock-action-movie dialog” parts, it still could. Will it end up sucking? Yeah, probably.
*I don’t know if they’ll actually get the rights to the song, but I imagine Toby Keith would agree to it since he’s a giant whore. (And I mean giant in the sense that he’s very whorry, but also in the sense that he’s big and fat.)