From legendary writer-director John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Conan The Barbarian) comes the tale of what-could-have-been, had the Cold War gone another way.
When Communist paratroopers descend on a Colorado high school football field, a group of the school’s students wages an all-out guerilla war to save their town — and their country. Featuring an all-star cast, including Patrick Swayze (Road House), Charlie Sheen (Platoon), Lea Thompson (Back To The Future), C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders), Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing), Powers Boothe (Tombstone) and Harry Dean Stanton (Alien), Red Dawn “comes up like thunder” (New York Post)!
I saw the original Red Dawn as a child, and it always simultaneously spooked the shit out of me, and fired me up. It’s a movie that makes you think, or at the very least, excels at placing you in its characters’ shoes. What would you do if a foreign enemy suddenly invaded, and were rounding up everyone around you, imprisoning them, and putting them to death? Would you stand and die with them, or get as much food and ammo as possible, and find somewhere to make a stand? I think most of us have entertained the idea of surviving a zombie apocalypse, and my plan has always been “Wal-Mart.” Yes, I live in Kentucky, but believe it or not, in my area we actually have some metropolitan areas, and I don’t feel like the mountains that surround the shopping centers and such are dense enough to act as good enough cover to mount any sort of stealth resistance. But we have several Wal-Mart stores in the immediate vicinity. This movie takes place in Colorado, and so from the mountains, a stand they would take.
Patrick Swayze’s former High School Quarterback All-Star Jeb, leads a cast of up-and-coming actors, including Charlie Sheen, C. Thomas Howell and Lea Thompson, into the Colorado Mountainside, as they try to survive, and eventually mount an offensive against invading Russian and Cuban troops who have occupied their town. What unfolds is one of the most violent PG-13 films I’ve ever seen in my life. Red Dawn was actually the first PG-13 movie, in the early days, before they really knew what they wanted the rating to be. Because of this, it’s a lot darker, and a lot more disturbing and graphic than what the PG-13 film has become today. Back in 1984, if you were shot in a PG-13, blood actually seeped from your wounds, whereas today, everything is bloodless. It works in its favor for certain, as I always assumed it as an R-rated film as I watched it on HBO and such growing up. Beyond the graphic violence, it’s a good story, that hit close to home upon its initial release, and thanks to current events, has become just as relevant today. What would happen if Russia and an ally decided to invade our country? In the film, there is an entire section of the midwest sieged by the insurgence. It seems odd, considering how open the landscape was, and the fact that the Wolverines owned the mountains while the troops embedded themselves in the town, but hey, it was 1984.
The transfer on Scream Factory’s Blu-ray isn’t a brand new restoration or anything like that, and it’s pretty much in line with MGM’s release a few years ago. At the very least, the same master was used, and little-to-no cleaning has occurred. Print damage can be seen from time to time, especially during reel changes, and at times, the film certainly looks its age. However, if you’re a fan of the movie, it really shouldn’t matter. It’s on-par with the previous release, maintains a healthy grain structure, and comes with some great bonus content, including an hour-ten retrospective documentary with all new interviews with a few people involved in the production of the film. Another area where the Shout! Select release of the film excels over the MGM release is the audio options. With two tracks to choose from, Red Dawn sounds better on home video than ever before. To own Red Dawn on Blu-ray, you have two choices. For under ten dollars, you can get a serviceable release, with mostly small bits of bonus content, and an okay audio track, or for twenty(and likely to be cheaper after time passes), you can get stacked edition, with superior audio, and a much beefier extras package. The choice is yours, but if decide to go the Shout! route, buy with confidence that you’re obtaining the superior release. Red Dawn is now available from Shout! Select, and you may purchase a copy yourself by visiting their website.
- NEW “A Look Back At Red Dawn” – A 70 Minute Feature Including Brand-New Stories From Co-Star Doug Toby, Casting Director Jane Jenkins, Production Designer Jackson DeGovia And Editor Thom Noble
- Archival Featurette: “Red Dawn Rising”
- Archival Featurette: “Training For WWIII”
- Archival Featurette: “Building The Red Menace”
- Archival Featurette: “WWIII Comes To Town”
- Original Theatrical Trailer
|DISCS1||RUN-TIME114 min||ASPECT RATIO ?2.35:1||COLORColor||LANGUAGEEnglish|