A hello to arms - Page 2

Who, exactly, is the target audience for Red Dawn?

'Red Dawn''s civilian militia fights back.

Yup, in the new Red Dawn a coastal Washington state burg — mom, apple pie and flag figuring large in the opening montage — is the first attack point in a wholesale invasion of the U.S. (pop. 315 million) by the Democratic People's Republic (pop. 25 million). It's football season, so a Spokane suburb's team — Wolverines!! — lends its name as battle cry and its revved up healthy young flesh as guerilla martyrs to the fight for, ohm yeah, freedom. Do they drink beer? Do they rescue cheerleader girlfriends from concentration camps? Do they kick North Korean ass? Do you really need to ask?

Of course this Red Dawn is ridiculous, though as a pulp action fantasy it's actually fairly entertainingly well-crafted by veteran stunt coordinator-second unit director Dan Bradley. The actors maintain straight faces with variable degrees of success — on the upside pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth, (whose other 2009-shot MGM film The Cabin in the Woods also got released this year) as ex-Marine alpha male, on the downside an irksome Josh Peck as his little bro and an inexplicable Connor Cruise as a teammate. The adopted son of a certain really famous Scientologist, the latter surely got this role on merit alone; otherwise we'd be forced to believe he made up in nepotism what he amply lacks in looks, voice, and presence.

So what does this silly movie have to do with the election, you ask? Just this: its production travails mean this rah-rah, just-credibly-gritty-enough (but still mostly video-game-like) tale of fighting the power has arrived just in time to become a training manual (or at least recruitment video) for revolutionist reactionary rednecks. It's ready-made for an audience so deprived of air, irony, and other key elements to reality that they're probably in a hundred or more basements right now, plotting the overthrow of our Socialist Islamophilic oligarchy. 

RED DAWN opens Wed/21 in Bay Area theaters.

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