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Film / Red Dawn (2012)

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

The North Korean military has invaded the city 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.

Tropes of the Brave:

  • Adaptational Villainy: Oddly enough, the opposing force. In the original, with the Soviet alliance attacking in the middle (or rather near-end, but wasn't known at the time) of the Cold War, there's several scenes that humanize the soldiers and the men who lead them and show that they really would like to not be fighting the damn war. The forces of the unified Korea are given absolutely nothing of the sort and are almost machine-like in their efforts at taking over (and the sole collaborateur we see some characterization for, Pete, was an asshole from second one to explosive death).
    • Even more so for China, which in the original film are on America's side in retaliation for getting nuked by the Soviets.
  • 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. Not even China nor Russia could effectively invade the United States, since they'd have to cross the ocean to do so, and even then, the American mainland is too heavily defended that it would be a massive failure that could ruin China and/or Russia militarily, economically, and morally. In addition to that, any foreign invasion of the United States would be met with a massive nuclear strike to destroy enemy command centers and war industry, as well as kill civilians to deprive the enemy of manpower.
  • Ascended Extra: In an odd case, all of North Korea. Though in the original film no North Korean soldiers are seen, in this version, they effectively take over for the Cuban and Nicaraguan armies, while the Russian military bears the brunt of the invasion on the East Coast.
  • Big Bad: Captain Cho, though Kim Jong-un (Cho's superior) is the Greater-Scope Villain.
  • 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 and will carry on the fight.
  • Broken Aesop: Jed openly compares the Wolverines to the insurgents he fought in Iraq, even saying at one point, "Over there, we were the good guys. We enforced order. Here, we're the bad guys. We cause chaos." This comparison led some critics to wonder if the remake was intended as a Stealth Parody meant as propaganda against the Iraq War, though the filmmakers deny this.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Some Americans collaborate with the Korean occupying forces. Pete is one of them. He is shown wearing an armband with North Korean symbols.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Captain Cho is this when he figures out where the Wolverines are. Rather than send troops to assault the position, he just shells it, THEN sends in troops to count the dead.
  • Conveniently Empty Roads: During the initial invasion, Jed, Matt, and their friends drive past countless parked vehicles, but the only traffic they encounter is Jed and Matt's cop father.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Wolverines' MO, which they use to great effect against North Korean and Russian troops.
  • Death by Adaptation: Danny.
  • Demoted to Extra: Russia, who are the main villains of the original film.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous:
    • Jed Eckert is a U.S. Marine. In the end, the Wolverines are helped by 3 retired U.S. Marines.
    • The Russian Army's Spetsnaz gets called in to assist the North Koreans when the KPA gets serious casualties from Wolverine guerrilla attacks.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Matt is reckless on the football field, which leads to gains for his team but also his getting tackled to the ground in the following plays. This Attack! Attack! Attack! nature reflects how he fights the North Koreans, at least initially.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: As stated by the news, Kim Jong-un. Though this is inaccurate; he is the grandson of the founder of North Korea, Kim il-sung, and he inherited the position by blood.
    News anchor: Promoted from a nobody to high political and military office.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • Kim Jong-un. While he doesn't appear anywhere in the movie (except for archive footage in some of the news reports during the opening credits), he's the leader of North Korea.
    • Russia and China. Though the occupation of the Pacific Northwest goes to the North Koreans, Colonel Tanner's remarks indicate that Russia invaded the East Coast, China the rest of the West Coast. The ambush that kills Jed is also caused by Russian advisers attached to the North Koreans. Not to forget that the Soviet Union created North Korea while China provided military and financial aid.
  • The Hero Dies: Much like the original.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: Averted where after the final battle the Russians used one to track the Wolverines to their lair by planting a homing device under the disguise of a stab wound.
  • Invaded States of America: Not that it makes any sense that a foreign country would be brave or stupid enough to attack the United States, let alone a dirt-poor one like North Korea. This movie is just war propaganda. The original at least had an air of plausible motive and strategy. John Milius brutalized this movie on this point, pointing out that he would have chosen Mexico as the antagonist.
  • It's Personal: Jed killing Capt. Cho to avenge his father.
  • Jitter Cam: A whole damn lot of it in action sequences, and most notably in the last few seconds of the film as we see a bunch of prisoners liberated by the Wolverines run carrying an American flag aloft.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • Moment Killer: Jed Eckert and Toni Walsh are alone outside the camp and they talk about the feelings they have for each other. Suddenly, a bomb explodes: the Koreans are bombing the camp.
  • 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.
  • Patriotic Fervor: This movie (including its poster) is straight-up angry pro-American propaganda. The movie glorifies the American flag, football, deer hunting, news footage denouncing the militaristic aggression of North Korea, China and Russia, the protagonists being Americans who triumph over North Korea and Subway.
  • Pom-Pom Girl: Matt's girlfriend Erica is a good-natured cheerleader. She spends the first half of the film as a Damsel in Distress, but becomes a member of the Badass Crew after being rescued.
  • 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."
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Despite being killed by a sniper, Jed's skull was remarkably intact.
  • Product Placement: Subway.
  • 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?"
  • Recruit Teenagers with Attitude: The Wolverines are teenagers, except Jed Eckert.
  • Refuge in Audacity: While infiltrating the police station, SMAJ Tanner has to get across the main lobby in full view of a dozen Nork soldiers. After briefly assessing his options, he slings his M4 and calmly strolls across the room, having correctly surmised that in the slightly-dim light, nobody on the North Korean night shift will pay much attention to an armed man in camouflage (just like everyone else in the building) who acts like he belongs there.
  • La Résistance: The Wolverines use guerilla tactics to fight the Korean occupying forces.
  • Retired Badass: Sgt. Major Tanner and his men, who came out of retirement after the invasion.
  • Rousing Speech: Tom Eckert delivers one when he is held prisoner before being shot, then Jed delivers one to the Wolverines and, in the end, Matt delivers one to the new recruits.
    After Mayor Jenkins tries to talk the boys into surrendering (via bullhorn while the kids hide in the nearby woods), Tom takes the bullhorn, seemingly about to do the same. He glances at the North Korean forces and gathers himself.
    "Boys. If you're out there, if you can hear me, listen up. It's a tough situation all the way around. A lot of tough choices. I love you both. I hope you know that. What I'm going to ask you to do may be very difficult... but I want you boys to do what I would do."
    Mayor Jenkins looks at him in horror, as if realizing what's coming.
    "I want you to go to war" — points at Captain Cho — "and stop this piece of shit. Or die trying."
  • Russians with Rusting Rockets: Russian Spetznaz appear in the final chapter of the film, helping the North Koreans track down the Wolverines after they prove to be such a serious problem for the invaders. Earlier a Russian officer is seen next to Cho when he is giving a speech.
    • Tanner and his men also mention that (Off-screen) the Russians invaded the East Coast while China and North Korea attack the West Coast. It's also mentioned that Russia helped the North Korean troops reach the U.S. by providing the transportation.
  • 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" (itself a Shout-Out to The Longest Day) 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, Robert, Toni, and 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.
  • Twenty Minutes with Jerks: Not as bad as other examples, but the action starts around the 11 minute mark compared to the original which started after the 4 minute mark.
  • War Comes Home: Like the original film, this follows a similar premise, but with the North Koreans invading Washington State. The established Wolverines at the end of the film even mention the spiel about how invaders from other countries always act like they're they heroes "liberating" the country.
  • Weaponized Car: The epilogue shows the Wolverines got themselves some cool toys to continue the fight — including a Ford Mustang with a roof-mounted minigun.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Matt seems to feel like this compared to Jed.
  • Yanks with Tanks: As mentioned above Jed and Tanner's unit are Marines. At the end of the movie U.S. military choppers arrive to extract Tanner and the device after the mission is a success.
  • 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. A couple of Jed's Rousing Speeches lampshade this.
    • "Over there, we were the good guys. We enforced order. Over here, we're the bad guys. We cause chaos."