Scott Marks 2:48 p.m., May 23
Red Dawn — the enjoyable 1984 kiddie Cold War thriller from John Milius that forms the basis for this rancid, unnecessary reboot - opens with the memorable (and chilling) image of a group of helpless high school students looking on as invading paratroopers gently touch down outside their classroom window. While the planes, parachutes, and paranoia remain, this time, the crowded CG sky looks like something out of George Lucas's Red Tails, and it's the North Koreans, not the Russkies, poised to turn American kids into junior Rambos. Large portions of the narrative make no sense. (The remake sat on the shelf for three years.) Clocking in at a little over an hour and a half, Dawn appears to have had at least 15 minutes shorn from its original running time. (It only feels like three hours.) First-time director Dan Bradley's imperceptible swish-pans and microsecond cuts are imitations of everything else that currently passes for action filmmaking. There can be only two reasons why FilmDistrict decided this fascist video game needed to see the arc light of day instead of going with a direct-to-video release. Either the distributor wanted to cash in on Chris Hemsworth's sudden rise in popularity via The Avengers and Snow White and the Huntsman, or, in anticipation of a Romney victory, felt that a recruitment film was in order. With Josh Peck, Adrianne Palicki, Josh Hutcherson, and a brave Jeffrey Dean Morgan trying his best. 2012.
— Scott Marks