It's easy to make fun of 1984 Red Dawn, the ultimate Reaganite fantasy flick where a million Russians and Nicaraguans managed to sneak into the US and occupy hillbilly towns because the US got soft on its military and dissolved NATO. And not wanting to outdo themselves, "[i]n a neat touch, gun control has made it easy for the Commie occupiers to round up all the registered guns in the area..." which of course is complimented by shots of Minute Men statues.
But the thing most people forget is underneath the lower-than-Tom-Clancy-level plot, comes an oddly progressive tale of insurgent resistance. As Jesse Walker of Reason pointed out:
The film outraged liberal critics, but further to the left it had some supporters. In a witty and perceptive piece for The Nation, Andrew Kopkind called it "the most convincing story about popular resistance to imperial oppression since the inimitable Battle of Algiers," adding that he'd "take the Wolverines from Colorado over a small circle of friends from Harvard Square in any revolutionary situation I can imagine."
It's worth remembering how odd this was for the time; in a period obsessed with superpower military rivalry, the film portrays a popular resistance movement remote from any military campaign. As well, the characters are average high school kids who become populist heroes. Although only a trailer is out for the new Red Dawn remake it looks like even that might have changed.
In the new film, Jed and Matt Eckert (Chris Hemsworth and Josh Peck respectively) are no longer just high school kids. Jed is a US Marine while Matt looks to be a football quarterback (at best, possibly an underdog). Their father is a cop who is brave enough to openly criticize the invaders as they have him at gun point.
From the look of the trailer the rest of the kids look less like insurgents and more like a younger version of the Expendables.
The obvious point of this is to take the "formula" of a couple of kids resisting and format it into the modern action movie cliche. This ends up reinforcing a mistake in the original film, as Murray Rothbard (who surprisingly correctly) pointed out:
One big problem with the picture is that there is no sense that successful guerrilla war feeds on itself; in real life the ranks of the guerrillas would start to swell, and this would defeat the search-and-destroy concept. In Red Dawn, on the other hand, there are only the same half-dozen teenagers, and the inevitable attrition makes the struggle seem hopeless when it need not be.
And the concept of popular uprising is not only reduced but it's reduced during a time period in which it works better today. Since the 2012 movie began shooting there have been a whopping 27 uprisings across the world, the perfect time to make a film about the struggle of people to free themselves.
The other absurd thing about the film is how the official enemy was changed from China to North Korea; Hollywood thus reaches the comical zenith of selling out: they basically change the entire plot to make a bigger box office return.
And so the villain is North Korea..the same country that can't feed it's own people occupies the biggest military power in the world? And doesn't this reinforce the stereotype that all Asians look the same since none of the Chinese actors were replaced with Koreans?
Indeed the logic couldn't be any more reactionary: possibly the weakest country in the world topples the US and only the specially trained youth, through their sheer force of will, (since those scary Koreans still have tanks after all) overcome the foreign commie threat.
Of course this is just a trailer but the signs don't look promising.