Friday, 1 March 2013

Red Dawn (1984)

Set in an alternate 80's this film is based around the notion that the US is evaded by the Soviet Union and its Cuban and Nicaraguan allies. So its everything your standard red blooded, paranoid, religious Southern hick dreams of, a chance to roam around out in the sticks shooting people that may look like a threat, yee-haw!!.

World War III, America v Russia, fight!, well almost. The film is interesting if slightly silly, I would of thought it impossible to evade and take the US considering its size and population. A film of its time for sure, a time when America was paranoid about the Russians (and vice versa) and had not too long finished up fighting the North Vietnamese.

on one hand its a more serious 'Goonie' type fantasy adventure, on the other hand there is a clear underlying message about the way people thought back then, tensions, imagination running wild, maybe even preparation ideas just in case, what better way to show the masses than with a movie. You could almost say it was a military promotion/propaganda to encourage youngsters to join up, stop the commies from trying this, don't be like one of these characters in the film (that get captured and killed).

Putting aside the hidden messages that aren't so well hidden (were they meant to be?) its obviously very dated and effects aren't like today, the action is very hokey. Lots of vehicles being blown up, men shot with no visible evidence of bullet holes or blood, booby traps, thick tashed bad guys etc...It is a grown up serious film though, the premise is serious as are the deaths of various characters and the way the film portrays both sides at crucial moments of morality.

To look at the film you could be fooled into thinking it was just another silly 'A-Team' brat pack affair, hell it was only missing Estevez and Lowe. Despite the now famous young cast there is a heck of a lot of emotion flowing through this, certain scenes will make your eyes well up even though you know its corny as hell. The dialog is like the action in its hokey as hell at times but along with the great location work you can't deny the film does pack some punch, somewhat.

Back in the day for American kids of that age group I'm sure this film was quite unnerving. As for American adults back in the day I'm sure it did make them wonder about the future. Altogether a film very much of its time which doesn't really work as well now, still fun thanks to a great cast but the edge has long gone due to circumstances changing over many many years. An interesting look back in time though.