Despite my aversion to most Hollywood remakes I kept a lid on my expectations when approaching Red Dawn. John Milius's original 1984 film holds up well and remaking it isn't necessary. The flip side is that an updated retelling could be relevant given the state of the world at the moment. In fact the premise to the new Red Dawn is an eerie reflection of whats actually happening in North Korea. The film began production in 2008 and could not have possibly foreseen the events we are watching unfold in reality. In a prologue it is established that Europe has fallen into an economic crisis, leaving the United States isolated and vulnerable to ever increasing hostility from foe nations. North Korea and Russia seize the opportunity and launch a full scale invasion. The overall premise is the same as the original and most of the narrative follows the same trajectory but with modern filmmaking this movie steps it up to a whole new level. The film excited me and it managed to grip me from the get go, not relenting until it's closing frame. The action is well staged and on a huge scale and director Dan Bradley uses mostly practical FX, choosing to limit the use of CGI. He comes from a stuntman background and has an obvious affinity for the real stuff. It's this factor that ultimately holds Red Dawn together. There isn't a lot of time for character development or tactical explanation but I really didn't care. In Hollywood blockbuster terms the movie made sense and delivered an unexpected thrill. Chris Hemsworth works well in the lead and Josh Peck holds his own in the main support role. I remember Peck as the tubby kid from Max Keeble and Mean Creek... it's almost shocking how much weight he's lost. Anyhow, Red Dawn is entirely unnecessary BUT doesn't do the original any disservice. It's bang for your buck!