So, did you hear they're remaking Red Dawn?
For anyone of a certain age, that film pushes a button. It's an 80's icon, a relick of the Cold War, and a pop cultural oddity. It's totally of-its-time in reflecting the deep, deep fears of western suburban kids, as irrational as they may seem today. The whole idea of a totally successful Soviet/Cuban invasion of the U.S. is ridiculous and far-fetched (it was Milius after all), even more so today, but back then the vivid nature of the Commie nightmare was all too believable.
Times have changed a lot, and now the fear of violence is a lot more real for many people in hitherto sheltered environments. Since the terrorist atrocities of September 2001, a new fear mentality, crushing in its scope, seems to dominate the western psyche - much to its detriment. For one thing, it had led to this - the remaking of some old Cold War paranoia by folks hoping to cash in on some weird mix of patriotism, nostalgia, and angst.
There are several things that are very wrong about remaking Red Dawn. For one, it's such an artifact of its time. Anyone born since Red Dawn was made could never understand the mentality it springs from, especially in our fractured age. The remake will involve a Chinese invasion, which is even more ridiculous than the old Soviet/Cuban one. China would hardly invade its largest trading partner; besides, they can do everything at home now anyway. (To be fair, the opening invasion scene is a doozy, what with the Black Guy Dying First, the eerie sight of paratroopers descending on the suburbs, and the great "cold, dead hand" visual gag).
The fact which takes the irony to an almost painful level, is that the original film was a none-too-subtle tribute to the Afghan Mujahideen, and their resistance against the Soviet invasion of their country during the 80's. Now the West is dying a painful death in the graveyard of empires - and suddenly, we're the Soviets. Apparently one of the characters in the remake is going to be a veteran who served in Iraq; I guess some examination of this irony may take place through that.
But how could they ever improve on the original cast?
What a legendary 80's lineup. Doesn't Jennifer Gray look fantastic with that Kalashnikov? Hell, they all look good, even poor old C. Thomas Howell and his bizarre career trajectory. (I think you're cool, C, and you did get the best death scene). Charlie Sheen was never slimmer. That's a gorgeous cast right there.
But, of course, that photo has a poignancy since the death of Patrick Swayze. He was the backbone of the original film, and the remake lacks anyone with his presence to take that role. One of the strongest moments in the film - one of the great quotable scenes - involves him saying goodbye to his father (the great Harry Dean Stanton), who is going to be executed in the morning.
There's also another famous quote from the film, which seems funny in light of the remake's new enemy. "Who's on our side?"
So all in all news of a remake gives one a rather sour taste in the mouth. Basically, it's a dumb idea, even dumber than the usual remake; and in 2010 it will have serious competition there. Check out all these remakes/reboots coming out next year:
Clash of the Titans
Beastly (reboot of Beauty and the Beast)
When In Rome (remake of Three Coins In The Fountain)
Highlander (yes, AGAIN; apparently there cannot be only one)
Edge of Darkness
Predators (sic, there will be heaps of them)
The A Team (actually looking forward to this one)
(BTW : There was a kind of Red Dawn tabletop wargame I've been looking for, for years; let us know if you've got one lying around).
In more positive red-related news, I've been trying to work out which of the many, many, awesome Hellcat comics from the past decade in include in my next blog on her. I've had to cut some of the cooler moments to the wayside. So take this chance to sample a few moments from one of them.
The evil Enchantress hoped to recruit a army of brainwashed superheroines to destroy her enemy Thor. She recruits them with magical shampoo! (It's a fun story).
There are a few great moments as some of the coolest women in the MU get to hang out for a bit:
Ultimately, Millie - thanks to Clea's magic - manages to impersonate Thor long enough for the real one to show up and save the day (coz you do really need a god to defeat a god, no matter how many kickarse heroines you have). It was a great little read.