Don't be confused by the title; there are no vampires to be found in "Red Dawn." Instead, director Dan Bradley's remake of the 1984 action cult classic sees "Avengers" and "Hunger Games" stars (among others) engaged in guerilla warfare against North Korean soldiers on American soil — about as different from "Breaking Dawn" as it possibly gets.
But even though "Red Dawn" has "Thor" actor Chris Hemsworth and the bread-baking Josh Hutcherson on its side, the impressive cast list hasn't been enough to attract favorable reviews on its own. While some critics have praised the film's acting and action sequences, many others have skewered "Red Dawn" over plot and script issues, not to mention the controversial decision to change the nationality of the film's villains in post-production.
Read on for a sample of "Red Dawn" reviews.
All In On Action
"A lot of the movie's success comes down to the excellent action sequences, and that's where having a guy like first-time director Dan Bradley — who spent years working as a stunt coordinator and second unit director on a number of big films — pays off. He may not get the best performances from his actors when it counts, but the action scenes are never lacking in excitement, and they account for a large part of 'Red Dawn.'" — Jason Zingale, Bullz-Eye.com
Better Than The Original?
"It's not saying much that the new 'Red Dawn' is better, but it is. By quite a bit. Where the original's chilling opening of foreign paratroopers invading Colorado and firing into a school gave way to a nonsensical tale of high school kids absolutely dominating trained soldiers, the makers of the 2012 'Red Dawn' actually took time to figure out how to make the movie work." — Matt Pais, Red Eye Chicago
"Made in 2009, and then set on a shelf since 2010 as part of the financial woes of original distributor MGM, this remake, directed by stunt veteran Dan Bradley, feels a little too quick and crisp and cool. You know when one of your favorite rock songs gets rewritten and sped up and cleaned up to sell, say, orange juice or dietary supplements? That's what the new 'Red Dawn' feels like: a surface-level photocopy with all of the problems of the first film and none of the accidental, seen-in-the-rearview power." — James Rocchi, MSN Movies
The "Garbage" Review
"'Red Dawn' is one of the rare cases where a movie isn't just poor, it is inadvisable. It is even, perhaps, irresponsible given the current political climate. The meat of 'Red Dawn' remains free of politics, which is actually a detriment to the story, but it opens with a montage of rock solid xenophobia and saber-rattling against Kim Jong-un, the young new leader of North Korea. It's almost preposterous enough to elicit laughter. Almost. ... This paint-by-numbers picture with false drama and middling action has next to nothing to justify its very existence. 'Red Dawn,' on a fundamental level, is garbage." — Jordan Hoffman, Film.com
The Face-Value Review
"Ultimately, 'Red Dawn' is a fun film that knows enough not to try to be anything it's not. Most of the cast is solid, the action is good, and there's a nice sprinkling of legitimately funny moments throughout. Thankfully, the high melodrama from the original is toned way down and traded for some quiet heart and emotion. Political stances and statements take a backseat to kids kicking ass allowing the audience to simply set back and enjoy themselves. — Luke Mullen, Film School Rejects
Check out everything we've got on "Red Dawn."