Especially for people my age, the 80s was an iconic time for film. It was the decade of the blockbuster, the horror film, and the action film. And while it solidified the careers of action icons like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Chuck Norris, it also featured films with great ensemble casts that introduced us to legions of next gen actors. One of the best of those films was 1984’s Red Dawn, the film that really gave all us teenagers a fear of the Cold War and Russian invasion. And while it has been out on Blu-ray before, this time it is from the folks and Shout Factory and there is one great reason to upgrade.
Red Dawn follows a group of friends in a small Colorado town who must wage an all out guerilla war against invading Russian troops in order to save their town. After hundreds of paratrooper Russian soldiers land and take over their town, friends Jed (Patrick Swayze), Robert (C. Thomas Howell), Matt (Charlie Sheen), Erica (Lea Thompson) and others head to the hills to form a small army of their own to protect their town and fight back. But even with weapons and supplies they have a lot more to deal with to ensure their own survival against insurmountable odds.
Red Dawn was a defining movie for kids of my generation. We all started making plans in our heads as to what we would have to do should another country ACTUALLY invade. Swayze and company were incredibly relatable and director John Milius, badass that he was, made sure not to hold back with his depictions of invasion and war. There were great personal losses for all the characters and nothing was sugar coated. It was a hard-edged political thriller dressed up as a teen action movie. And it worked. In addition to Swayze, Howell, Sheen and Thompson we also got Jennifer Grey, Brad Savage, Ben Johnson, Harry Dean Stanton, and the imitable Powers Boothe to round out the excellent cast. And thanks to Milius’ great direction, Red Dawn still holds up incredibly well. It also doesn’t hurt that many of the fears we had at the time have come full circle and are just as timely today.
While you may already have a bare bones copy of Red Dawn on Blu-ray on your shelf, the main reason to upgrade to this new Shout Factory edition is the remarkable 70 minute feature on the making of the film that is very in depth and a must see for fans of the film. Red Dawn is very highly recommended.