Movie review: 'Red Dawn' is reheated Cold War leftovers

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Retooling the 1984 action movie "Red Dawn," which pitted a ragtag army of American teens against Soviet invaders, becomes a fool's errand in this brainlessly bombastic remake.

This time, it's the North Koreans who parachute into Spokane, Wash., as part of an invasion force. Marine Jed Eckart (a pre-"Thor" Chris Hemsworth), just returned from Iraq, and his high-school quarterback brother Matt (Josh Peck) gather their friends — including Adrianne Palicki ("Friday Night Lights") and Josh Hutcherson (before "The Hunger Games") — into a little guerrilla unit bent on taking back their home.

If one can swallow the plot holes and hackneyed characters, one still must deal with the confused staging and nausea-inducing handheld camerawork of first-time director Dan Bradley (a veteran stunt coordinator and second-unit director).

Filmed in 2009, caught in MGM's bankruptcy battles and with producers changing the invaders to North Koreans (so the film would play in China), "Red Dawn's" industry backstory is more intriguing than the finished film.; —


'Red Dawn'

Opens Wednesday, Nov. 21, at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for sequences of intense war violence and action, and for language; 90 minutes.