Red Dawn: Collector's Edition John Milius

Red Dawn: Collector's Edition John Milius
Ahh, the ’80s war movie, when Reagan was dropping bombs on the "pinkos” and every American was just dying to dropkick a Russian. Good thing the action film was in full force, spreading propaganda about those nasty communists over in the USSR and down in Cuba. While John Rambo and Chuck "Delta Force” Norris were more than enough man to take them all on their own, a group of teenagers starred in arguably the most memorable and implausible film of them all. Red Dawn was somewhat of a launching pad for many of that decade’s biggest young stars. Although Patrick "Swayzedog” and C. Thomas Howell made their impressions the year prior in The Outsiders, as they mention in a featurette, this was the first major role for both Charlie Sheen and Jennifer Grey. The film’s opening scene at school is hard to forget: during class the students all of a sudden notice paratroopers falling from the sky, which signals the invasion of America, or at least Calumet, Colorado, by "foreign” armed forces (aka "the red menace”). From that point on it’s a game of kill or be killed (or at least oppress and torture), and a group of students escape into the wilderness to fend for themselves. However, instead of living in fear, they decide to go to war and slowly become lean, mean fighting machines. Thank god for the Wolverines. Red Dawn is often remembered as an "it could have happened” scenario, and back in the ’80s it seemed slightly plausible, considering all the Cold War paranoia. However, looking back on it now, there’s no bloody way (Cuba and Russia just happen to buddy up and drop into the U.S. for a takeover?). The unlikelihood, however, doesn’t detract from this film’s level of amusement. It’s a lot of fun watching the Swayzedog lead these kids into battle and with the help of veteran soldier Powers Boothe, they become warriors that can actually do battle — somewhat. However, my common sense convinces me that eight untrained teens and an adult soldier aren’t going to take down an entire army of hundreds. Yet they do. There are featurettes up the wazoo that examine working under John "the General” Milius. Interviews with the cast and crew divulge great memories, including the intense military training they had to undergo, to which the Swayzedog admits: "I learned things I shouldn’t know.” Sadly, there’s even mention of a deleted scene where Lea Thompson gives it up to Boothe as a last resort but unfortunately, there’s nothing as far as forgotten footage. An update on the filming location takes a tour around Las Vegas interviewing the locals but their enthusiasm is pretty trivial. Despite being a two-disc set, mysteriously there is no commentary, which could have been a valuable addition, considering how fond the actors were of this film and how unhinged Milius appeared to be during the making of Red Dawn. (MGM / Fox)