‘Red Dawn’ still holds relevance after many years


United Artists

Matt, played by Charlie Sheen, and Jed, played by Patrick Swayze watch the enemy from afar.

   Throughout quarantine, there has been a lot of binge watching that came along with hours of downtime. People look for new movies and shows to watch, but at the same time, there are plenty of older movies that are worth watching. A classic movie with a loaded arsenal of actors is the original Red Dawn. Red Dawn debuted in 1984 and has stuck around since. 

   Patrick Swayze and other big name actors play a group of boys who have to survive a domestic attack by the communist Soviets. Jed (Swayze) takes on the leadership role of the boys along with his brother Matt, played by Charlie Sheen. The boys take on a tactical way of attacking the soldiers, knowing they are outnumbered and would lose any type of direct encounters. They adapt almost a guerrilla type warfare of fighting throughout the movie. 

   Red Dawn is one of the very few movies that does not have a happy ending and does not have every character live happily ever after. This adds an emotional tie that can help you empathize for the characters. The audience can really see everyone’s true colors along with seeing their natural “fight or flight” instinct. When characters die off trying to fight back people invading their small town in Colorado, it really does make the audience tear up or even feel that emotional connection to the characters. As the story progresses, the audience roots for a hero who embodies the American spirit. When that character is in danger, the audience is drawn in by suspense. When a beloved character dies, the audience feels the loss like the rest of his band of compatriots. The directors did an amazing job building characters and having that emotional tie. John Milius, the director, really made an unlikely situation seem just about as realistic as it could be. 

   Watching this for myself in junior high, I could not help but let my imagination run wild and think about what I would do in that situation especially considering we live in the flyover states that are represented in the movie. The entire movie will have the audience on the edge of their seats. The action packed film is a must-see classic that will not disappoint. Seeing the large number of big name actors in the younger stages of their acting career is captivating to see as they progress in their careers.

    A remake was made recently starring Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, and others. The 2012 Red Dawn was not reviewed highly by critics receiving a 15% from Rotten Tomatoes, but personally I liked the modernized big city twist to the original Red Dawn. It followed the original plot pretty well but gave a more in-depth description of characters’ pasts. Including a high school quarterback, a cheerleader, an active military member, and the mayor’s son. Adding in this description really gave me a different perspective of the characters and helped me sympathize with them throughout the loss of loved ones and different plot twists. The ending to the 2012 version along with the 1984 version is a cliffhanger that had me wanting a sequel.

   Altogether, the original Red Dawn is a must see for anyone looking for a solid original movie to watch during quarantine and other downtime. The movie contains multiple big name actors in the movie and it makes it cool to see. The plot will have the audience’s mind running through the situation for hours on end.