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Film: Red Dawn (2012)

A remake of the classic 1980's Red Scare film.

The North Korean military has invaded the town of Spokane, Washington with the help of EMP weaponry. After seeing his father executed by Captain Cho (Will Yun Lee), Iraq veteran Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth) joins up with his younger brother Matt (Josh Peck) and several of his high school classmates to form the Wolverines, a guerrilla resistance group.

The film is notable for its Troubled Production. At first, the remake replaced the Soviet Union with the People's Republic of China. The Chinese villains were later replaced by North Koreans. Images had to be digitally altered and Chinese dialogue dubbed over to fit this change. The official reason for the change was that North Koreans would make more menacing villains, but most commentators believe that the change was to avoid angering the Chinese government, that limits the number of import films from the United States each year (and would give the slot to another film). Additionally, industry experts pointed out the obvious that even with distribution permission, Chinese audiences would be less inclined to watch a movie that clearly demonized their troops (in previous decades, Soviet cinema casting the American military as villains haven't made it to the US for similar reasons).

The remake was originally meant to be released in 2010. However, due to financial problems at MGM, it seemed like the film's release would be delayed indefinitely. Ironically, the film's only hope seemed to be a loan from China. The remake finally picked up a distributor and was released in 2012.

Despite a striking number of parallels (both fictional and real life), no connection exists between this and the video game Homefront.


This film has examples of:

  • Action Girl: Toni, Julie, and Erica.
  • Actor Allusion: Having Chris Hemsworth go to a a cabin in the woods is rather amusing.
  • Almost Kiss: Happens between Jed and Toni. They are interrupted by an artillery strike.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The film ends with the Wolverines (with more members) raiding a POW camp - with better weapons!
  • Anyone Can Die: Greg, Julie, Danny, Hodges and Jed. Daryl probably dies as well
  • Artistic License - Geography: The opening montage has North Korea joining the "Pacific Rim Cooperation Organization," which shows five flags: Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Four of those five countries, as you can probably tell by their names, are located in Central Asia and are nowhere near the Pacific.
    • They are, however, all members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the real-life Sino-Russian military alliance which the PRCO is imitating.
  • Artistic License - Military: For the plot to even begin it relies on the MST3K Mantra to make the invasion of any amount of continental American territory by North Korean forces militarily possible. Even with their EMP weaponry and Chinese and Russian assistance, the logistics to make such a thing possible are simply well beyond feasibility for them, even if they managed to completely elude any American detection of their preparations.
  • Banned in China: The villain was changed from China to North Korea to avoid this.
  • Big Bad: Captain Cho.
  • Bigger Bad: Kim Jong-Un. While he doesn't appear anywhere in the movie (except for some of the new reports during the opening credits), he's the leader of North Korea.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Most of the original Wolverines are dead, but the mission to recover the suitcase was a success and the Wolverines are gaining more public support and more recruits.
  • Broken Aesop: A meta-example. The film's message about standing up for your ideals and never giving in to foreign invaders rings rather hollow given that the filmmakers censored the identity of the villains in post-production to retain access to that sweet Chinese box office cash.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Captain Cho is this when he figures out where the the Wolverines are. Rather then send troops to assault the position, he just shells it, THEN sends in troops to count the dead.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Wolverines' MO, which they use to great effect against North Korean and Russian troops.
  • Demoted to Extra: Russia, who are the main villains of the original film.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The Russian Army's Spetsnaz gets called in to assist the North Koreans when the KPA gets serious casualties from Wolverine guerrilla attacks.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Pete
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Almost word-for-word, about Kim Jong-Un.
    News anchor: Promoted from a nobody to high political and military office.
  • The Hero Dies: Much like the original
  • Invaded States of America
  • It's Personal: Jed killing Capt. Cho to avenge his father.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Pete gets killed in the explosion while he was screaming "Wolverines".
  • Last Breath Bullet: Occurs right at the end after the final battle with Captain Cho.
  • Lighter and Softer: Although it can still be pretty dark at times, the remake isn't nearly as bleak and depressing as the original.
  • Macguffin: The satellite communications system used by the Koreans, which is the main objective of the film's last raid.
  • Make the Bear Angry Again: Ultranationalists take over per the usual method of enforcing this trope.
  • Mythology Gag: The majority of the scenes in the movie are based from the original film.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Implied with the news-clip montage at the start of the film, during which it is mentioned that, among other things, Russia has fallen to a military coup. Much later, it's revealed that Russia has invaded the East Coast just as Korea - and possibly China - have come in from the West, and there's a Russian Spetsnaz soldier on hand to help Cho and his men.
  • North Koreans With Nodings: The Korean People's Army invade the western part of America as a major antagonist.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: At one point, Matt's carelessness and impulsiveness results in the death of a comrade. Jed calls him out on it.
  • North Korea Takes Over The World: The remake of the film is a slight smaller scale of this trope where the North Koreans take over the Pacific NW. Off screen, the Chinese have the rest of the west coast, the Russians have the east coast, and the Mexican border is still contested.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: Occurs at the end after the final battle with Captain Cho and the North Koreans in the police station after the mission to retrieve the phone case was successful.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Before killing Captain Cho with his dad's gun, Jed says to him "You fucked with the wrong family."
  • Prop Recycling: The props department seems to not have had any Soviet heavy weapons on hand, so the DPRK jeeps have M2's.
    • The Jeeps themselves are in fact Humvees. The Korean People's Army also apparently has so few tanks that they are using M1A2 Abrams to garrison the city.
Pretty Little Headshots: Despite being killed by a sniper, Jed's skull was remarkably intact.
  • Putting on the Reich: From the opening, it seems to suggests that North Korea wants to rule the world.
    "North Korea is a danger to the world." "What would North Korea possibly hope to gain?" "What is it that they want?" "What are they preparing for?"
  • Reality Subtext: The current political climate necessitated the change of the antagonists in the remake from China to North Korea. The notion of using Chinese in the first place for the remake was due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Noting that China was once an ally of the U.S. also fits the affiliation of China toward the end of the Cold War.
  • Retired Badass: Sgt. Major Tanner and his men, who came out of retirement after the invasion.
  • Semper Fi: Jed is a Marine, and the Wolverines are assisted by a trio of U.S. Marines later in the film.
  • Shout-Out: The remake features several nods to the original, such as the scene where the Eckert brothers convince Robert to drink deer blood (although the remake puts a hilarious twist on that scene), and listening to Radio Free America where the announcer says "John has a long mustache" and "the chair is against the wall." And the paratroopers descending from the sky.
    • Immediately before the North Korean paratroopers invade, we get a close-up shot of a snow globe of Seattle.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Matt, Tanner. Daryl's final fate is unknown, but he's left behind by the Wolverines by his own choice when the tracer is discovered instead of being executed by them as in the original film.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Matt seems to feel like this compared to Jed.
  • You Killed My Father
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The North Koreans (and the Russians/Chinese off-screen) call the Wolverines terrorists. The locals support them as heroes and freedom fighters.

HomefrontPossible WarSplinter Cell
Red Dawn (1984)Military and Warfare FilmsRed Tails
Radio RebelFilms of the 2010sRed Lights

alternative title(s): Red Dawn 2012
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