It’s no secret that we’re living in an age of garbage cinema, but the Red Dawn remake is the garbage-iest garbage movie I’ve seen in a while. It’s a remake of a (let’s be honest) mostly boring ’80s movie that only did one thing brilliantly: It played on the anti-Russian panic that had been instilled into teenagers by authority figures. Without even the zeitgeist in its favor, the remake is left with not much of anything. (The villains were filmed as a Chinese invading army, but digitally transformed in postproduction to a much-less-believable North Korean army for fear of losing money in the lucrative Chinese media market. This sounds like a more plausible plot for a Red Dawn remake than the movie we’re given.)
Chris Hemsworth plays a Marine who leads a small militia of Spokane teenagers against the invaders. Even he can’t muster the charm he’s shown in The Avengers or The Cabin in the Woods; there’s nothing for him to work with here. The direction is inept. Every fight scene is a blur of ineptly edited camouflage. The actors are all too old for their parts, and thanks to inept production values, they occasionally look like worn-out gray-skinned 80-year-olds. All the cocaine in the world doesn’t excuse this awful mess of a thing.