The Red Dawn remake looks like a strong argument for ending the war in Afghanistan



  • "OMG is great!"
One movie you definitely won't catch me seeing this holiday weekend is the Red Dawn remake, which the Reader's Drew Hunt notes "merge[s] action movie heroics with ass-backwards politics, blunting the genre pleasures that made the original so delightfully kitsch." In short, America is invaded by North Korea (originally China, before the producers snapped back to reality and changed some insignias in postproduction) and a handful of smokin' hot Spokane, Washington, teenagers take to the hills to form a resistance that might one day drive out their new overlords.

The movie, out today, is "very intense, very much keeping in mind the post-9/11 world that we're in," according to one of Red Dawn's screenwriters. Per Deadspin's head-shaking review, they don't do such a great job with that: "With its Dawson's Creek-worthy romantic travails and brooding/whiny characters, this Red Dawn insists that the youth of America are just one badass training montage away from becoming boss guerrilla warriors." Which brings me to my point.

Does this not sound exactly like what has happened in Afghanistan in the last decade? Where an invading army (America's + NATO) was held at bay by a highly motivated insurgency (the Taliban) made up of young, dogmatic freedom fighters (mujahideen) unwilling to be subjected to a foreign way of life (embodied by hot dogs, several puns intended), and the guys making this film didn't see the incredibly obvious parallel? The original (1984) explicitly refers to the similarities between the Red Army invasion of America it depicted and the Red Army's 1979 invasion of Afghanistan, yet the current set of movie execs didn't stop for a second and consider that, hmm, these days we're the Red Army. What if the target audience here in America figures out that Red Dawn glorifies the very warfare and reasoning that is getting American soldiers killed? They would cry out in awful empathy for the Hobson's choice some Afghans face today, yawp for an end to our invading ways, round up swords for plowshare conversion, the whole nine yards.

This will never happen, so all we can really say is that our military-entertainment complex remains vastly hypocritical. That or, you know, maybe the movie's "a brilliant piece of Andy Kaufman-style performance art."

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Add a comment