Dan Bradley’s remake of Red Dawn has suffered from plenty of bad timing. In the first place, there’s the fact that John Milius’ 1984 original was a quintessentially Cold War artifact that seems irretrievably antiquated in the 21st century. Then there’s the booming Chinese market for Hollywood blockbusters, which forced the post-production change in villain from China to North Korea — which then suffered the death of dictator Kim Jong-il, who, while ridiculous, provided at least a plausibly insane menace. The film is now stuck with an opening montage of news footage attempting to make his nonentity son, Kim Jong-un, look like a threat. Its luck may have finally turned around, and not just because star Chris Hemsworth landed the lead in Thor while the film gathered dust; opening just after Obama’s re-election, Red Dawn may provide some escapist solace for mourning Red Staters.
Little effort has been made to update the story, so red-blooded hawks can revel in a world where bad guys invade the homeland with tanks and guns (and some kind of pulse weapon that cripples the entire U.S. military — best not to think about that too much, but then logic is another object of Republican distrust). Those liberal bastions, the Eastern Seaboard and the Pacific Northwest, immediately become occupied territory, but states like Alabama and Texas remain free and fighting. The sight of a scrappy band of high schoolers waging guerrilla war is enough to warm any right-leaning heart, and as Hemsworth says of doing the fighting at home, “It hurts a little less and makes more sense.” If only the same could be said of Obama’s America, right guys?