Red Dawn was one of my favorite movies as a kid. It starred my girlhood crush, C. Thomas Howell. It was released in 1984, a year after The Outsiders, and it reunited three of that movie’s cast members: Howell, Patrick Swayze, and Darren Dalton. Red Dawn was, in fact, a lot like The Outsiders, only this time, the kids were armed with machine guns and RPG’s instead of knives and chains, and they were fighting a much bigger enemy than the Socs.
It was also a movie about America being invaded by the Soviets (and the Cubans), and group of all-American teens who become freedom fighters in the resistance against them. If you watch it now, the story seems much more about the mujahideen in 1980′s Afghanistan than it does about America. But it seemed so plausible at the time–to me, especially, as a child–that we could be invaded by the Soviet Union, because we were still firmly in the grips of the Cold War, and Russia was our enemy.
A Red Dawn remake is in the works, scheduled to begin production in September. Most of the principal cast has been confirmed, the latest addition being Connor Cruise, 14 year-old son of Tom Cruise. Remakes are generally never as good as their originals, but what really worries me about the Red Dawn remake is that the foreign invaders this go-around are apparently going to be…Chinese.
This isn’t entirely surprising, given how much cultural anxiety people feel these days about China taking over everything. Shoot, I even wrote a post two years ago during all of that China toy-recall hysteria and gave it this label: “I Smell a Remake of Red Dawn Only This Time the Invaders Have Slanty-Eyes.”
But this is 2009 and not 1984. Everybody knows that if the Chinese are going to take over America, they’re not going to do it by military force–they’re going to do it by buying up all of our real estate! Which, I suppose, is less exciting cinematically than guerrilla warfare. But I do wonder how the filmmakers are going to pull this off, if there’s any way to do Red Dawn with a Chinese enemy without it being totally racist?
All I can say is we’ll be keeping an eye on this remake. One very skeptical slanty-eye.
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