After 2 months without a post, I now present to you my new segment entitled “Wrong Tomatoes,” where I take a film that I have seen and explain how the score that it’s given on Rotten Tomatoes is wrong. In this first edition I will discuss the current remake of the 1984 film Red Dawn. As of today it has a score of 11% on RT…..eleven. The original holds a 53%.
So, let me explain to you the issues I have with this by telling you what was wrong with the original film. It lacked character development of any kind. Out of the 8-or-so teenagers that made up the guerrilla warfare group called the Wolverines, about 3 of them had a distinct personality. The others neither had any identifiable traits, nor did they have any sort of relationship with each other. This made it difficult to become emotionally attached to any of the characters. If an audience isn’t attached emotionally, they no longer care about the outcome.
Also, throughout the entire film things keep happening that seem like they were included last minute. A scenario that stands out is where, towards the end of the film, Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze’s characters are seen in a playful manner as the former intentionally sprinkles food crumbs onto the latter’s head. They both get a laugh. However, before this instance, both characters hardly even acknowledge the other’s presence. Shortly after this event, Jennifer Grey’s character gets killed, which finally clears up the decision for randomly and absurdly including the prior sequence. It was things like this that really lead me to believe that the creators were more into the IDEA of the film, rather than how they will make it entertaining for the audience.
Now, the remake fixes many problems that the ’84 version suffered from. The story didn’t feel rushed and you actually saw relationships forming between the characters. The issues that they dealt with were more realistic and you saw most of the maturing as the film developed. I mean, it had some issues of its own, but they were minor compared to the distracting and frustrating ones from before.
I know it’s hard to have a film that was so significant and meaningful at one point in time and then have it remade. But compared to some of the most recent remakes such as Footloose or Conan the Barbarian, this one wasn’t too shabby. It threw in a couple of twists to make it distinguishable from the original and, in my opinion, became a better film because of it.
All nostalgia aside, the 1984 version is pretty below-average. Although relevant to the times, the original is far worse than the 2012 remake. I understand that remakes generally suck especially if it is of such a “legendary” film, but despite the significance of this film in a trivial sense (e.g. the first PG-13 release and Charlie Sheen’s first film role), it’s hard to classify it as a classic for anything other than its historical representation.
Now, I urge critics to see the remake as its own film first and then re-watch the original with a new frame of mind to make the comparison. The acting might not be at par, but neither was the ’84 version’s. It’s not, by any means, a perfect movie, and I could probably write a whole article about how it’s not, but it’s hard to believe that it’s worse than the original.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 11%
What it SHOULD be: 64%