The backstory on Red Dawn is more interesting than the movie.
It was filmed in 2009 but financial troubles at MGM cause a release delay. Originally, the villains invading the U.S. were Chinese. That got a terrible reaction from the Chinese government and China is a huge U.S. movie market, so the producers reshot the opening scenes, digitally deleted the Chinese symbols, flags and writing and made North Korea the invader.
Last, the story is set in Spokane, Wash., but was filmed in Mount Clemens, Mich. Red Dawn's star power is Chris Hemsworth, who has been very busy the last couple of years doing Thor, The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods and Snow White and the Huntsman. He's the main character leading the rebel group the Wolverines against the hated enemy.
Red Dawn is more proof that Hollywood is out of original ideas. It is a remake of the Patrick Swayze hit from 1984 that was co-written by Kevin Reynolds who directed Kevin Costner in Waterworld and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and John Milius who wrote and directed Conan the Barbarian.
The 1984 original stayed in the mountains and rural settings as Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Gray battled Russian invaders. The new film is directed by first-timer Dan Bradley -- best known as a stunt coordinator -- and written by B-movie, TV and short film writers Carl Ellsworth and Jeremy Passmore.
They set quite a bit of the movie in city settings.
It provides the film's only positives. When it comes to stunts, Bradley who worked on several of the Bourne films and other blockbusters, has few equals. The action sequences are superb.
If it makes enough money and is popular enough, Bradley and crew set the thing up for a possible -- ugh, please don't -- sequel.
Mr. Movie rating: 2 1/2 stars
Director: Dan Bradley
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Josh Peck, Adrienne Palicki, Isabel Lucas
Rated PG for some mature themes. It is playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.