It is nearly impossible to evaluate the remake of a film without comparing it to the original. In the case of Red Dawn, the original was a better than average film that was perfectly cast and told a topical tale of the times.
The same cannot be said in any measure about the 2012 remake directed by Dan Bradley.
The tale this time around is somewhat different. The U.S. is invaded, but this time by the North Koreans rather than the Soviet Union (which is defunct now anyway). They are enabled in this unlikely effort by an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) that destroyed all of the electronic components of all military weapons systems of the U.S., as well as causing massive power outages.
The invasion takes place after we’re shown a high school football game where “Jed” (Hemsworth), home on leave from the Marine Corps, gets to see his younger brother “Matt” (Peck) lead the local high school team, the “Wolverines”, to defeat. Matt does get props from their father, “Tom”, a sergeant in the Spokane Police Department, for trying his best.
The North Koreans have conquered the city, as well as the entire Western and Eastern seaboards. But thanks to Tom’s help, Jed and Matt, along with several other teens, are able to escape and head to the family’s cabin out in the wilderness.
After their father is killed, the teens, dubbing themselves the Wolverines, begin a series of raids on the North Koreans. Eventually they are joined by several “real” soldiers who are there hoping to take one of the North Korean’s communications units. The two groups eventually team up and plan a dangerous raid the headquarters of the North Koreans.
The original Red Dawn was about a threat that was at least plausible. The possibility of the North Koreans invading the U.S. at this point or anytime in the foreseeable future is less likely than winning the lottery.
The cast is also much too “attractive” to be believable and while this is a common flaw of films, here it is worse than usual. Hemsworth is alright in the lead role and Peck isn’t bad, but the rest of the cast does little to bring anything to the story, save Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who is good in his minor role.
The logic flaws abound, the opening montage trying to explain what comes is disjointed and the combat sequences are nothing special. In the end, better to watch the original on DVD than see this weak remake.