August 11, 2009

Red Yawn

I'm not a big fan of Hollywood's recent obsession with remakes. The first reason, and easily the most important one is simply because there are precious few examples of any good ones. Besides the lack of quality, there's also the issue with the studios picking stupid projects to reboot. Right now they are working on a remake of Cliffhanger. The utterly forgettable Sly Stallone mountain climbing "thriller" from 1993? Why on earth would someone need to remake that film? There's an endless slew of horror remakes and then, the latest trend - anything that was remotely successful in the 1980's is likely being remade. Seeing these bastardized versions of the movies I grew up loving is makes me feel old and sad. Not exaclty the thing I watch movies for. There's a new Predator on the way. (By the way, the original Predator is the only film I can think of that starred two Governors, Big Arnie and Jessie "The Body" Ventura, the one time governor of Minnesota.) Short Circut is being is also being remade. The Karate Kid is becoming the Kung-Fu Kid, starring Will Smith's son. (I'm not joking, that's for real.)

Here's a stupid one. Red Dawn is being remade by MGM. For those that missed it the first time
around, Red Dawn was about a group of small town Midwestern teenagers who literally watch a helicopter land on the football field through the windows of their classrooms as the Russian military quickly takes over the town. Of course the teenagers rally to battle back to save the good ol' US of A. The movie starred Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and C. Thomas Howell, who was upon a time was an actor on the rise. This down with the commies epic was written and directed by John Millius, better known as a screenwriter and the man that brought us Dirty Harry, Apocolypse Now, and, his most significant pop culture effort - the famous Indianapolis shark infested waters speech from Jaws, that he contributed to the script, uncredited.

I don't have an issue with this remake because the original film is sacred. Far from it, actually. I recently re-watched the film after being sent a copy of the "Special Edition" DVD and was quite amazed at how shitty it was. The issue here is the movie is such a product of the era it was made. In the early 80's, the idea of the Russians landing helicopters and trying to occupy American soil wasn't a crazy notion, it was everybody's darkest fear. The new film will replace the Russians with the Chinese. Cause you know how concerned everyone is about the Chinese storming American soil. They're not going to invade America. They practically own it. Frankly it seems kind of naive and sweet to think the fear would be a sneak attack in the midwest rather then a rain of nuculear weapons decimating the major cities. This premise really doesn't work in 2009, its very much a product of the early 1980's.

The film will be directorial debut of Dan Bradley, a former stunt co-ordinator and veteran second unit director. Bradley's cast is a who's who of who? Chris Hemsworth headlines, seen recently in A Perfect Getaway and soon to be Thor. Then there's Isabel Lucas, who you know is a really good actress 'cause she was in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Then, of course there's Josh Peck, who's best known as a voice actor. But then, in the sea of no names, I found a name that instantly rang a bell. Connor Cruise.

Connor Cruise is the child that Tom Cruise adopted with Nicole Kidman because having a child of
their own wasn't possible because he wasn't far enough into the Scientology program that makes girls less icky. Connor, now 14, made his acting debut last year playing a younger version of Will Smith in Seven Pounds. Now he has a co-starring role in a major feature film. Seriously? Did I miss the part where this kid paid his dues? Or even paid a due? Just one? Maybe a two episode arc on Gossip Girl? So let me get this straight: Smith's own son, Jaden made his debut in The Pursuit of Happyness, playing Will's son (big stretch) then he was handed a plum roll in The Kung Fu Kid. Now Connor Cruise plays Smith's son in Seven Pounds and he gets handed a roll in Red Dawn. Whoever the next actor to play Smith's son in any movie will no doubt be the new Teen Wolf.

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