The New Red Dawn

Last night, Sebastian treated me to a movie and finally had a movie theater experience that he found remotely pleasant. We picked the 10:35pm mid-week showing of a movie that’s already been running for several weeks, so the theater was empty. Warning, there are some spoiler-like comments ahead. But then again, it’s a damn remake. You should already know the larger plot.

There was a line in the opening sequence about everyone asking how the North Koreans could actually manage to become a serious military strength to threaten a country like the United States. That’s exactly what serious viewers would ask, too. Now, I realize that the North Koreans weren’t supposed to be the original enemy, but that’s how the final product was released. Therefore, I think it’s reasonable to criticize just how much the filmmakers expected us to suspend disbelief.

I did miss the line about the 4473s from the original, but I can understand why they would want to cut that for a wider audience. The fact is that only gun owners who seriously understand the political process of gun regulation really got that reference.

Other than that, I thought it was reasonable entertainment. As Sebastian noted, the urban warfare environment made far more sense for guerrilla tactics than the open countryside setting of the original movie. The heavier reliance upon explosives, even when they just ended with a gun battle, was also a bit more realistic to the narrative of causing problems for the invading enemy with more troops and firepower than the Wolverines.

I’m not going to pretend that the flick is a highbrow cultural masterpiece. It’s just a little fun with some reminders about how there are people out there willing to fight for basic freedoms. It’s better than we both thought it would be based on initial previews. It’s not an exact replica of the original Red Dawn, but it’s not so wildly off from the original that anyone who loved the fun of the original will be lost.

If you haven’t caught it yet, the number of theaters showing it after tonight will drop since it’s been out for several weeks. However, it is still performing in the top 10 of movies. In fact, in the early release, Red Dawn pulled in almost as much per screen as Life of Pi which was based on a book that became an Oprah-recommended best seller. It’s worth a few bucks to go see it.

20 Responses to “The New Red Dawn”

  1. Andy B. says:

    There have been many classic fantasies I’ve read/viewed once, loved them with a passion, and yet their fundamental flaws prevented me from ever wading through them again. Off the top of my head, “Atlas Shrugged” and “Unintended Consequences” were two such books, and I’m afraid “Red Dawn” is going to be such a movie. At least until it makes it to a non-premium cable channel on an evening when I have nothing to do. Some fantasies just don’t work twice.

    • Andy B. says:

      Add to my movie list, “Easy Rider.” An incredibly inspiring movie when I was 25; embarrassing to see how corny it was, when I was 50.

  2. Richard says:

    People argue endlessly about the requirements for a successful guerrilla war (e.g. a sanctuary) but while there have been many successful rural based guerrilla wars there has never been a successful urban one. Keeps getting tried because that is where the leftist supporters live. Good luck with a rightist one in an urban setting. “The guerrillas are the fish and the people are the sea.”

  3. Andy B. says:

    ” there have been many successful rural based guerrilla wars there has never been a successful urban one.”

    I would say that depends on your definition of success. The Irish Republican Army fought for over 30 years, in the most recent Troubles, and it could be argued over who was “driven to the bargaining table” — the IRA or the British. The war appeared to be a stalemate (though again it depends on who’s telling the story). But, the conflict ended with an armistice, many say because the IRA saw their goals as finally being obtainable democratically, in a matter of decades, so continued bloodshed was no longer justified. But in any case, there never was a day when the IRA just folded its (urban) tents without some concessions from the British, e.g., the release and amnesty for most of the IRA members imprisoned over the years.

    An explanation for my interest: When the “militia” craze went around back in the early ’90s, and a number of my RKBA buddies were joining up, it was obvious that their “rural/wilderness” model was insane, and out of curiosity I began studying the IRA, as the only known model for a successful guerrilla effort in the First World. At the time the Troubles were still going strong. I soon became a bug on the subject, analogous to the way many people are bugs on the Civil War. I also became convinced that our “militia” movement was a deliberate effort to lead people away from any possibility of effective action, and to get people to waste their time playing with themselves in the woods. But that’s another essay.

    (Give me a few minutes and I’ll try to find the song, “IRA – Undefeated Army.”)

    • Andy B. says:

      Here’s a sample:

      The music is by Gary Og of Eire Og.

      The videos purporting to show IRA members are mostly staged propaganda film, and I have it on decent authority that no actual Volunteers were put in danger for such purposes.

      Just Google “undefeated army” and there is plenty more where that came from.

    • Richard says:

      Last time I checked Northern Ireland was still part of Great Britain and not part of Ireland. The IRA was more successful than most urban guerrillas but they did not achieve their war aims and the Brits did. Anyway, there was a substantial rural effort in that war. Reporters were all in Belfast and Derry though.

      I agree the “militia” model was insane but not because of its ruralness. They had no base in the local people and no sanctuary for starters. For other urban guerrilla debacles consider, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, various “Red Army” whatever in developed countries, various Islamic places (Russians pretty much set the standard for dealing with urban insurgencies in Grozney.). Idea for urban insurgency was an attempt to create a sanctuary in the cities where the insurgents base was. Not an absurd idea on its face but it didn’t work.

  4. Jethro says:

    I wanted to see the Red Dawn remake be about Communist Aliens.

    “Marxism ruined their planet, now they’ve come for ours: Red Dawn!”

  5. Zermoid says:

    What were they in the first film? Cuban?

    Been years since I watched it……

    • Bitter says:

      Cubans, Nicaraguans, and the Soviet Union.

      In the version just released, it’s only the North Koreans and Russians.

      • Harold says:

        Well, if they’ve got Russian advisers like in the original, there’s no excuse for dropping the Form 4473 bit, which was more than “one line” (3 or so?) and covered it well for those ignorant of the issue.

        • Bill Twist says:

          Yeah, it actually integrated well with a later plot point, which was the father of Robert being executed because the guns the teens took from the store were missing from the records.

          • Andy B. says:

            Uhhhh. . .If a major balloon like a foreign invasion was going up, wouldn’t the first thing you would do be to take those kinds of records (e.g., 4473s) and destroy them? Would you be worrying more about the BATF than the North Koreans, or whoever?

            The execution scenario may make for a neat little propaganda vignette to please the already-saved, but is so illogical as to be counterproductive. It makes the plot seem adolescent.

            • Harold says:

              The execution scenario may make for a neat little propaganda vignette to please the already-saved, but is so illogical as to be counterproductive. It makes the plot seem adolescent.

              Then I guess the Nazis who machine gunned entire families in the the village square when the father couldn’t produce a gun registered to him were adolescent?

              Being told about one of those events in basic training by a Dutch? immigrant who was an eyewitness is what turned Neal Knox into a RKBA activist. I’m sure the JPFO also has a few things to say about this history….

              • Andy B. says:

                I think you missed my point. Chances are the gun store owner would have been executed just for being a gun store owner, but the idea that private individuals would maintain records that could be incriminating is fanciful. As I said, it would imply they were more afraid of our own government than of invaders.

                In your examples of Nazi atrocities, the records in question were maintained by the government itself, not by order of the government. Portraying a replay of those scenarios would be entirely valid and educational. In fact, they are why I own no firearms that are in a government registry, and never have, and never will.
                Just to throw in a little historical tangent, in the Baltics the invading Russians in 1940 executed people merely for being “exploiters,” which could have meant being a landlord, or even just a small employer. My European family was deported to Siberia in 1941, it would appear mainly for having too many “intelligencia” in it, e.g., teachers, doctors, and other professionals, and/or just being relatively too prosperous — i.e., not peasants. Many died in Siberia, which appeared to be the intention of the Russians.

                • Felix says:

                  You might be interested in the recent book “Bloodlands”, about the area that was occupied by both Germans and Russians from the early 1930s to 1945. Might not be worth buying, but worth reading at least some of it. It’s mostly just statistics and the politics behind them, gets a bit repetitive, but it did amaze me how organized it all was, in every aspect, from pogroms to collectivism to lebensraum to partisans to …

            • jetfxr69 says:


              Respectfully–No, I don’t think the first thing a dealer would do would be to destroy the 4473s. More like, grab what they can, and get outta Dodge. Or, be caught by surprise by everyone else.

              I think it’s very unlikely the 4473s would be in a bug-out bag, or surprise (foreign invasion) bug-out plan.

              • Andy B. says:

                Actually, I think we’re on the same page. I just think the combined ideas of a gun store owner both sitting around, and also maintaining his records, is just too illogical to flush. In the scenario, my first thought would be to lose as much of my identity as I could, as quickly as possible.

              • Bryan S. says:

                Or, be stocked well enough to put up the resistance of a lifetime.


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