We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
"Red Dawn" opens with a hard-fought high school football game, the day before Spokane, Wash. is interrupted by the thud of bombs. The young gridiron stars of the Wolverines race outside to see enemy aircraft flying overhead in formation, dropping paratroopers from the skies.
This is an alarming sight, but not to worry: The movie reassures us that an invasion by communist North Korea can be vanquished by the members of the team and their girlfriends, using mostly automatic weapons stolen from the North Koreans themselves.
If you're wondering how North Korea (population 25 million) can raise enough invaders to attack the Unites States (population 315 million), it may help to understand that the original screenplay for this remake named the invaders as Chinese. After principal photography was completed on this film three years ago and its studio (MGM) went belly-up, the enemy identity was changed to North Korea by reshooting several scenes, redubbing lots of dialogue and using digital adjustment to change the looks of flags, uniforms and insignia on trucks and tanks. Did this involve a change in ideology in Hollywood? Not really. A marketing genius figured out that China is one of the biggest markets for American movie exports, and North Korea generates unimpressive box-office bucks for Yank product, as the trade papers like to word it.
But back to football. The home-team Wolverines are headed by star player Matt Eckert (Josh Peck), whose older brother, Jed (Chris Hemsworth), is a Marine just returning from active duty. That's a nifty way to include someone with military training and experience on your side. Jed takes unofficial command as the Wolverines go into action against the invaders. Matt's girlfriend is Erica (Isabel Lucas), a cheerleader, and Toni (Adrianne Palicki) is a spunky hometown girl who develops a crush on Jed.