Red Dawn (2012) (Blu-ray)

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Released 3-Apr-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Menu Animation & Audio
Trailer-Silver Lining Playbook
Trailer-Beautiful Creatures
Trailer-Side Effects
More…-Digital Copy
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 93:37
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Dan Bradley
Studio
Distributor
Contrafilm
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Chris Hemsworth
Josh Peck
Josh Hutcherson
Adrianne Palicki
Isabel Lucas
Connor Cruise
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $49.95 Music Ramin Djawadi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (2304Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

“Welcome To The Home Of The Brave”

     The original Red Dawn was a traditional commie versus the free world action flick with predictable messages of commie = bad and America = good. At the time the perceived threats were from a Soviet Union, and so the villains in the 1984 original were Soviets and Central American communists. Fast forward to 2012 and times have changed with the Soviet Union largely broken up and with an increasingly erratic and nuclear armed North Korea making waves on the World stage. In remaking Red Dawn the producers obviously had to be mindful of political reactions and presumably the more “acceptable” antagonist this time around would be North Korea – although even in this remake Russia still has a sinister role in proceedings. Hollywood has a long memory. Interestingly North Korea’s only real ally China is left out of proceedings following studio concerns about the Chinese reaction to them being portrayed as an enemy invader. I guess any outrage from the Chinese was something to be avoided at all cost and extra time in post-production removing Chinese references was worth it. After all – this movie won’t change the North Korean attitude to the U.S. one little bit but Hollywood doesn’t want to upset their new Chinese friends. One advantage to the studio of having this movie sitting on the shelf for four years was that it’s cast of relatively unknown actors went on to achieve popular success in other movies and TV. I’d suggest that the only reason many would have paid to see Red Dawn 2012 was on the backs of some well-known names.

     Matt Eckert (Josh Peck) is the High School football quarterback who badly wants to impress his father Tom (Brett Cullen) and returned special ops soldier brother Jed (Chris Hemsworth). Sadly though Matt ignores his coach at a local game, and loses through trying to be a hero. Dad and Jed are disappointed but Matt’s girlfriend Erica (Isabel Lucas) picks him up afterwards where they go to a party. Later that night the power fails and Matt returns home where his father tells him not to worry about the football game as he is an asset to the team. Tom, who is a police officer, then leaves to investigate the cause of the power problems. There is an awkward silence between Jed and Matt giving the impression that all is not well between the two brothers. Dad doesn’t return home that night and the next morning the two brothers become concerned at the sounds of rumbling outside. At this point they see a number of military planes overhead dropping parachutes and witness a missile strike on one of the planes. The brothers drive towards town to try and find their father who they eventually encounter on the road heading towards them. Tom warns of the attack and tells them to hide in their cabin in the mountains until the situation resolves. After encountering an enemy soldier the boys head towards the cabin while Tom returns to the town to render any help that he can.

     As more enemy soldiers are encountered the brothers realise they are North Koreans who are intent on invading their country. They try to rescue Erika but she has been taken by the Koreans. They do however manage to pick up school mates Robert (Josh Hutcherson) and Daryl (Connor Cruise - yep, son of Tom) with another car of escapees following them. On arriving at the cabin there is an incident when one of the escapees Pete (Steve Lenz) has a confrontation with Jed. It is obvious that Pete is a loose cannon and can’t be trusted. The next morning the group find that Steve has left the cabin and taken all of the food. Foraging for more supplies the group encounter North Korean Captain Cho (Will Yun Lee) who has been tipped off by Pete. Cho has Tom and Daryl’s father as hostages to draw out the group. After Tom is defiant Cho shoots him dead and the cabin is burnt down with the escapees escaping into the woods.

     The group with Jed as leader decide to fight back against the invaders and find a stockpile of weapons and C4 explosives. They adopt the name of “Wolverines”, which is their high school football team moniker, and start to target North Korean soldiers and infrastructure. The townspeople start to support the Wolverines and early successes against the invaders make them bolder. After a number of forays with mixed results the group encounter three American soldiers led by Tanner (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who had actually been looking for the Wolverines. The two groups agree to work together and eventually realise that the key to fighting the invasion is to obtain a suitcase which Cho always carries. They conclude that this suitcase and similar ones at other invasion sites hold a secret which could move the course of the war in their favour. With all the attention now turned towards obtaining the suitcase, the Wolverines realise that if they succeed then there is a chance that the remaining free American states and underground resistance can fight back and repel the invaders.

     In 1984 this invasion scenario might have seemed plausible, but in 2012 it is all frankly a bit ridiculous. Even if you leave aside the enormous plot holes, the execution of Red Dawn is cringingly formulaic, with every cliché in the book used from evil Asians, to American flags, to an awful montage where the high school kids become expert killers and explosive technicians virtually overnight. These North Koreans are pretty dumb too – despite being under attack from apparently unstoppable guerrillas, the town citizens are free to go about their daily business including shopping and dining out at Subway. All this could be forgiven if the action scenes were well executed and exciting. Sadly however even this is not particularly well done with fight scenes being just the usual spraying of bullets in all directions with only American bullets having any sort of ability to find their mark. Perhaps the only saving grace is that Red Dawn doesn’t drag itself out with a reasonably compact ninety minutes or so and not too many opportunities for boring soliloquies. With a jingoistic booyah script, second rate action, and no character development, Red Dawn 2012 is an example of how Hollywood remakes are rarely anything more than lazy film making.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video is presented in 2.35:1 high definition 1080p widescreen. This is the same as the cinematic aspect. As you’d expect from a modern film by a major studio the video overall is excellent with high detail and crisp edges. Colour, including skin tones, is accurate with forest scenes particularly impressive. Explosions contain vibrant red and gold fireballs which look great on a big screen. Facial close-ups have revealing detail with every bristle or skin crease finely imaged. Contrast is also excellent although some darker scenes had murkiness amongst the black backgrounds.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Default audio track is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 encoded at around 2,300 Kb/s. It is pleasing that this audio track is very good, with an explosive mix of LFE and surround effects that will have the viewing room shaking. When the plane is shot down in the early sequences you can’t help but grin at the crashing thump. Dialogue is always clear and easy to understand which again is a credit to the sound mixers given that so much is happening around the soundscape. Synchronisation with the video is also problem free. There is also a Dolby Digital stereo track and a descriptive audio Dolby Digital stereo track both encoded at 192 Kb/s.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     The menu featured looping video and audio.

Trailers

     Appearing before the main menu in HD video are: Silver Linings Playbook. 2:26. Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 Kb/s, Beautiful Creatures. 1:44. Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 Kb/s and Side Effects. 1:54. Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192 Kb/s.

Digital Copy

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Red Dawn Blu-ray seems identical to Region A versions which have BD/DVD digital copy combos and a similar lack of extras.

Summary

     If you want to see a good USA v Commies invasion movie then check out the 1984 Red Dawn. If you don’t care about content but want great audio and video then 2012 Red Dawn is the one to get. A much more modest effort at this type of scenario which in my opinion is more effective and has an Australian angle is Tomorrow, When the War Began. Worth a rental only.

     The video quality is excellent.

     The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras were AWOL.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mike B (read my bio)
Monday, May 06, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910 and Panasonic BD-35, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
Amplificationdenon AVR-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp
SpeakersB&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub

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