>> Saturday, September 19, 2009

Call me a godless, gunless, pussified liberal, but I'll never be able to comprehend the lingering appeal of a film based in part on the notion that scores of Soviet armored divisions might somehow invade North America via the ALCAN Highway. On second thought, that's likely among the more plausible details from Red Dawn. At any rate, here's Lance Mannion, in the midst of a wider meditation on the implausibility of seeing the film as vital either to the era or to Patrick Swayze's career:

Red Dawn may have been an enjoyable popcorn movie . . . but taking it seriously either as a work of art or a political cautionary tale or even as a shoot-em-up on par with the best westerns or war movies is like saying that your favorite Star Wars movie was Return of the Jedi because of the Ewoks.
Brilliant. Though to make use of a cliched formulation, this is a bit unfair to the Ewoks, since it's hard to imagine that their supporters -- whom I'm sure exist somewhere -- would be so unselfconscious as to name Iraq War missions after them. Then again, the film itself is a fabulously shitty expression of unselfconscious appropriation; as Devid Denby noted in his great and fittingly brutal review at the time, the film borrows from the actual legends and history of partisan -- and frequently communist -- resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II. I won't speculate on how a film like that could have evolved into a cult classic within a military as dominant as that of the post-cold war US, but Red Dawn has always seemed more relevant as a prosthetic device for -- you know -- morons who have convinced themselves of late that by protesting Keynesian economics, they've approached moral equivalence with the Committees of Correspondence.


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