Manly Movies – Red Dawn
Red Dawn (1984)
Director: John Milius
Writers: Kevin Reynolds (story & screenplay), John Milius (screenplay)
Stars: Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey
Red Dawn (2012)
Director: Dan Bradley
Writers: Carl Ellsworth & Jeremy Passmore (screenplay), Kevin Reynolds & John Milius … (1984 screenplay)
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Josh Hutcherson
A group of teenagers survive the invasion of their town by military forces and fight back. While the fundamental core of each movie is the same, they are essentially two completely different movies. Both movies center around two brothers and the dynamics between them, as well as teens adapting to the hardship and realities of combat. The 2012 version has a few callbacks to the original, but in almost all cases done differently enough that it could be considered an homage. Having heard a fair amount of complaints about the new one, I was not expecting it to be as good as it was. Both films are worth a watch. However, the 2012 version does suffer from modern issues, such as having fight scenes hyper edited to the point it’s hard to tell what’s going on.
Ultimately, I have to say if you’re only going to watch one, despite the fact much of it is dated, I would recommend the original from 1984. The 2012 version does fall into a few tropes that are annoying, and strays more from a drama into a straight action film. Not to say it didn’t do some things better than the original, because it did. However, the ending of the original is superior. 2012 ended in more of an action environment, all hopeful and you know in the end they’ll win. The original has no such ending, and in fact is a bit ambiguous. Ultimately, all you know is the american flag is flying over “Partisan Rock” as a monument, which may, or may not, mean the US retook the occupied territories. And that’s what makes it superior – you don’t always win. You don’t always have the happy ending. And sometimes, no matter how hard you fight, sometimes you simply fail.