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Red Dawn Review Critics


Dave White Profile

All stupid on the Western front. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Only those with paranoid fantasies of an en masse invasion on American soil will find Red Dawn remotely powerful. The concept should have been updated to allow for more complex and surreptitious kinds of warfare.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Thor's Chris Hemsworth leads the pack as a high school football star-turned-Marine, while Josh Peck plays his stubborn younger brother. There's also a collection of junior guerrillas, including The Hunger Games' Josh Hutcherson and Friday Night Lights' Adrianne Palicki. Take that, screaming North Koreans with no agenda!

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Frank Scheck

    This version is unlikely to strike a similar chord with young audiences while severely disappointing older fans of the original.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Many of the original film's booby-trap scenarios are repeated here, but without Milius' grandiosity and nihilism. There's less of both in the new Red Dawn. It's not a disaster. It's just drab.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Forgettable remake has lots of explosions, war action.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Red Dawn is a remake of the 1984 teen-soldier drama. As in the original, there are several battle scenes that feature character deaths (mostly from shooting, but also from explosions and hand-to-hand combat). There's a some strong language ("s--t," "ass," "bitch," and one "f--k") and a couple of passionate kisses, but it's really the body count and some iffy racial issues (all of the minority characters die, and the North Korean enemies were originally Chinese) that are most likely to raise eyebrows. But the movie, especially if seen in conjunction with the original, could still provide some good discussion fodder about the historical threat of Communism versus today's more technological threats. And you can expect teens to be interested, thanks to stars Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson.

  • Families can talk about Red Dawn's violence. How does it compare to what you've seen in other action movies? In horror movies? Which has more impact, and why?
  • The movie's antagonists were originally the Chinese, but the studio changed the enemy to the North Koreans. Why do you think the change was made? Do you think the Koreans pose a real threat to America? Does that affect how you experience the movie?
  • For those familiar with the original, how does this iteration compare to the '80s version? Some critics have accused the remake of being racist, both in its depiction of Asians and the way it kills off all the kids of color. What do you think? 
  • Talk about the enduring popularity of remakes. Does this take on Red Dawn seem as relevant as the first film?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Messages about teamwork, sticking together, kid empowerment, and standing up for what you believe in, as well as promoting self defense and acting by any means necessary to wreak havoc on the enemy. Jed, a Marine, compares the Wolverines to the insurgents in the Middle East who fought against the American army, providing the case for fighting occupying forces. The movie proves that even one flea can drive a dog crazy (i.e. a small rebel group can make a difference in a David-vs-Goliath fight).

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: The Wolverine clan makes sacrifices in order to try to bring down their enemy. Jed is a natural leader and tries to teach the teens around him what it means to be a soldier. Matt will do anything to save the girl he loves -- but, by doing so, he's responsible for getting a friend killed. The Wolverines all have to overcome their fear of death.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Several characters die (even main ones, as in the original movie). The body count includes people who are shot and others who are killed in explosions and during hand-to-hand combat. A firing squad kills a father and a bunch of people who are considered a threat to the North Korean government. Lots of explosions/crashes -- cars flip, there are lots of flames/fires, and combatants engage in gun battles. But none of it is very bloody (except when a wound is being sewn up). Some jarring camerawork makes the action feel even more frenzied.

  • sex false2

    Sex: A few kisses between teen and twentysomething couples. One couple flirts pretty heavily through most of the movie.

  • language false3

    Language: Language includes one "f--k," plus "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "d--k," "prick," "p---y," "damn," "bitch," "goddamn," "oh my God," and insults like "motard," "traitor," and "coward."

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Subway has a prominent placement, and cars driven in the movie include Ford, Dodge RAM, Chevy, and GM. Other brands include Rolling Rock beer, Pepsi, and Hammermill paper.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Underage teens drink on a few occasions.