It’s the early 1980’s in small-town Texas and Ritchie Wheeler (Shiloh Fernandez) knows that things are changing. The skating rink he manages is going under, his friends are all on the verge of moving away and his parents are getting divorced. All of these events converge and force Ritchie to take new stock of his life and where he wants to be, but sometimes that’s hard to do.
I went into this expecting an Almost Famous vibe, but it didn’t really turn out that way. What I did find was a movie that I wanted to like, but ultimately found to fall flat in a lot of places.
The acting was all really well done. Shiloh Fernandez’s character, Ritchie, seems authentically from that time period. Ashley Greene and Heath Freeman are also really up to par for their roles as his friends.
However, there was a lot of meandering. At first, I couldn’t really tell what the message of the film was supposed to be. It felt sort of like a one-note, reminiscence-fest – which is fine, but it wasn’t really for me. There were some good scenes, but the tempo of the movie switched around too much for me to really sink my teeth into it.
JOE Rating: ★★
Original Theatrical Release: November 21, 2012
Director: Dan Bradley
What would happen if North Korea and Russia decided to join forces and with the aid of a new weapon that shuts down America’s power grid, invade the United States? In this movie that tries to answer this question, a group of teens mostly comprised of a local football team called The Wolverines decide to fight back with all they have against the invaders and try and take back their town. Led by the war-veteran Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth) and his younger brother Matt (Josh Peck) the teens must learn to adapt and work together if they are to come out of the conflict alive.
Having been a fan of the original Red Dawn movie from 1984, I was unsure if an update would be necessary or even entertaining. The original film was a Cold War scare movie, and the message has sort of faded with time, relegating the movie to B-Movie cheese status that is both harmless and fun to poke fun of with friends (plus it had Patrick Swayze in it).
This newer incarnation takes itself far too seriously, trying to evoke the same sort of scare tactics used in the 1984 version but failing at doing so by using iffy politics that probably wouldn’t exist in the real world, yet trying to sell us on the idea that it could really happen.
There were some parts that had my blood pumping, but overall it was a redneck’s wet dream rather than a good film. I’m sure if you like movies where the antagonists are screaming Asians who kill Americans calmly and then go about their business, then this will be right up your alley.
JOE Review: ★★
Movie Trailer For Red Dawn