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February 9, 2003

Red Dawn (1984)

Posted by Mike on February 9, 2003 11:59 AM

If you're wondering how much longer you'll be able to stand the "current political climate", a viewing of Red Dawn will remind you that the people who were wandering around as adults during the Reagan era had their own kulturkampf to endure. This flick is Reaganista camp at its finest, putting food on the table of many future A-list B-grade actors from Patrick Swayze to Charlie Sheen to C. Thomas Howell (who does a turn as a blood-maddened revenge freak).

The premise involves a lengthy chain of events, including, as the prologue tells us, the "Greens Party" (running, no doubt, on a "kail for the masses" platform) taking over Germany, Nicaragua raising a 500,000-person army, and all of Europe deciding to take a pass when Russia, Cuba, and Nicaragua march through war-torn Mexico and into the US, landing paratroopers out of planes disguised as charter commercial jets.

Once small-town America is occupied, there's a lot of loving detail sprinkled throughout, from a foreshadowing high school history lecture about how heartless and vile the Mongol hoards could be, to a cineplex that shows Alexander Nevsky. Heroic men-folk are machine-gunned as they sing "America the Beautiful" and a bunch of high school football players (Sheen, Howell, and crew) flee into the woods to wage guerilla war against the occupiers.

What's not to like?

This movie didn't stand alone, by the way. Others in the genre included the ABC miniseries Amerika (1987) and the Chuck Norris vehicle Invasion U.S.A. (1985)