The Red Dawn of the Wolverines

Depending on how much you follow the schedule of upcoming movie releases, you may or may not know that MGM was planning to release a remake of Red Dawn on November 24, 2010 (the picture above is from the set). I say “was” because the studio is facing such major financial difficulties that the release has been postponed and the movie may be shelved indefinitely. To make matters worse, the Chinese press got a hold of the leaked script, which was based around a Chinese invasion of America (as opposed to the Soviet invasion in the first movie), and the headlines are not pretty. A few notable newspapers covered the story saying things like, "U.S. reshoots Cold War movie to demonize China" and "American movie plants hostile seeds against China." In honor of a movie that may soon join the ranks of many other films that might have been, let’s enjoy some trivia about the original 1984 version of Red Dawn. Image via g jewels [Flickr]

Shifting Focus

If you’re one of the many people who think the movie is a pathetic excuse to rally Americans against communists, then you may be surprised to know that the original story was much more intellectual and less action-oriented. Unlike the final version of Red Dawn, the original tale was more like Lord of the Flies, focusing on tensions between the group members and serving to illustrate the aggressive nature of mankind rather than the evils of communist Russia. The story, originally called Ten Soldiers, was also focused on kids who were in their early teens, rather than the older teens featured in the final version.

Getting Ready For Action

The cast and crew both had a lot of work ahead of them even before filming started. The actors, which included Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey and Charlie Sheen, were all required to go through an intensive eight-week military-styled boot camp to get them in shape and ready to fight. Meanwhile, the production crews were tasked with creating realistic weapons and vehicles for the American and Communist forces to use in the film. One of the movies T-72 tanks turned out to be such a perfect replica that the CIA actually dispatched two officers to find out where the Russian tank had come from and what it was doing in LA. What Happens In Vegas Stays In New Mexico While the movie is set in Calumet, Colorado, it was filmed mostly in Las Vegas, New Mexico. A rundown Safeway grocery store was used as a sound stage and many scenes were filmed there. Many of the buildings seen in the movie are still standing, with the exception being a 107 year-old historical building that was used for the headquarters of the invaders in the movie. Although it managed to survive being bombed by Wolverines for the purpose of production, it didn’t survive severe thunderstorms in the summer of 2006 and was torn down shortly after.

Setting A New Standard

If you ever thought there was nothing noteworthy about Red Dawn, you’re wrong. Not only did the movie represent the Charlie Sheen’s debut onto film, it also was the first PG-13 movie released in to theaters and the most violent film ever made at the time, according to Guinness. Technically The Flamingo Kid was the first movie to receive a PG-13 rating, but because its release was delayed five months, Red Dawn is largely credited with being the first PG-13 movie ever. Many parent groups protested the movie, notably The National Coalition on Television Violence, which was shocked by the Guinness Record given to the movie. According to the record, the movie had 134 acts of violence per hour, over two every minute. The Coalition claimed that 1984 had the most violent blockbusters ever released in one summer, as Indiana Jones, Gremlins and Dreamscape also hit theaters that year.

Real World Inspirations

Many critics claimed the film was a fantasyland for war hawks who wanted to use the movie as an excuse to go to war. While the Cold War ended shortly after the movie was released, critics were right in assuming that the military was inspired by the film. When a Hussein disappeared during the Iraq war, the Army set up Operation Red Dawn, and named the targets of the mission Wolverine 1 and Wolverine 2. The captain who named the mission, Geoffrey McMurray, said it “was so fitting because it was a patriotic, pro-American movie.” Politics on Neatorama are pretty divided and can be very heated, so I’m sure many of you have quite different opinions on the movie. So what do you guys think? Do you like Red Dawn? Are you hoping to see the sequel when (and if) it comes out? Sources: Wikipedia, New York Times, IMDB, Slash Film

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The opening scene,with all the paratroopers, was shot two blocks from my grandparents house.I was about four at the time,my uncles locked me out of the house telling me that the army men were going to get me.

Still love watching it even after that trauma!
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Demonize China. They deserve it for filling the world with useless plastic dingleberries of all shapes and sizes, pollution and toxic waste that makes strip-mining look like an Arbor Day event, and using the Great-Wall-Construction technique of slavery disguised as progress to accomplish their, "glorious entry into global economy."

Red Dawn? Is the name for that new Chinese dish washing detergent that uses grease to combat the surfactants in municipal their water supplies?
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