Blu-ray Review: ‘Red Dawn’ (2012)

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Blu-ray Review: ‘Red Dawn’ (2012)

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Movie poster for the remake of "Red Dawn"

"Red Dawn" comes out on a two-disc set that houses the film's Blu-ray, DVD, UV, and iTunes digital copies. This 2012 remake of the 1984 cult classic tells the story of a group of Americans who try to save their town from the invasion of North Korean soldiers. It stars Chris Hemsworth, Adrianne Palicki, Josh Hutcherson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Isabel Lucas, and Josh Peck.

Compared to the original film's Red Scare invasion plot by the Soviet Union, this movie initially used China as the new invader in its 2009 production -- before it was shutdown. When it resumed production, the invader was changed to North Korea. Unlike the quiet and introspective first film, this new version by Dan Bradley clearly cranks up the action with more glamorous fight scenes. It highlights the big-budget modern action bravado seen in many of today's Hollywood action flicks.


Regardless of the fact that this movie is a disappointing remake, it definitely looks remarkable on Blu-ray. In contrast to the gritty original, this one delivers very glossy and slick visuals. The pristine transfer stays sharp and spotless from start to end. There is an incredible amount of detail even in the most frantic action moments. Shots reveal consistently filmic texture and lifelike skin tones. No detrimental issues on digital tinkering and other visual anomalies are evident anywhere in the picture.


The package sports a sonically satisfying five-channel lossless soundtrack. The technical presentation packs a pretty strong punch with its pleasantly deafening roars taking advantage of the multi-channel setup. As a guns-and-explosion extravaganza, the very aggressive sound mix hosts a lot of gunshots and blasts swarming from every direction and countless fighter jets and choppers soaring from one speaker to the next.

Interestingly, the action-packed effects don't feel overbearing or too loud. Speaking lines have faultless clarity throughout. Even though the riot almost never settles down, the score still finds a suitable space in the sound design.


This Blu-ray edition is a barebones release. It offers nothing else other than the subtitle options available in English SDH, Spanish, and French.

Final Thoughts

"Red Dawn" is stellar on the outside but pointless and nonsensical in the inside. Only those craving for worthless and unreasonable action may find it enjoyable. This polished run-and-gun piece lacks intellect with the way it handles its story. With its endless action and little character depth and plot development, its dramatic undercurrents turn out directionless. If the original film has that deeply rooted sense of nationalism and camaraderie, as well as a genuine fear for invasion and communism, this movie simply becomes a mere exercise for designing loud noises and using slick filmmaking techniques.

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