Movie review: Red Dawn

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From the November 22, 2012 edition

The rebooted “Red Dawn” seems to be long for a strange bit of nostalgia, taking us back to the good old days of the Cold War original when at least it seemed more obvious whom the bad guys were.

Nostalgia, as Don Draper noted, is “delicate but potent.” There isn’t much delicate about this version of “Red Dawn.” It’ll scratch that war movie itch, but it never quite answers the question, why make this now?

The 1984 “Red Dawn” was released in the height of the Reagan era when kids pretty much thought war with the Soviets was an inevitability. That’s probably why it got away with a plot that had foreign soldiers attacking a Colorado high school within the opening five minutes.

The baddies are now North Korean, the locale is now Michigan (boo!), but everything else remains relatively unchanged.

The young stars get an update from Patrick Swayze and Lea Thompson to Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) and Adrianne Palicki (“Friday Night Lights”). The scope of the action is less cheesy than the original, but not jaw-dropping.

If you’re currently stockpiling canned goods for your underground bunker, you’ll probably love “Red Dawn.” Otherwise, the video game “Modern Warfare 2” did domestic war better.