Thursday, April 07, 2011

About that Red Dawn remake...

Yeah, I hear they've changed the bad guys from Chicoms to North Koreans because they didn't want to piss off the people with the money, and everybody's all butthurt and saying that it's completely unrealistic to show the Norks invading the continental US.

Guess what? It's hardly less realistic than a Soviet Il-76 dropping paratroopers over central Colorado in 1984. Seriously.

It's a fantasy. Enjoy the fantasy.


rremington said...

CUBAN paratroopers.....

genedunn said...

1) Declare war on US
2) Seize primary strategic objective of Calumet, Colorado using a combined arms force of elite Spetsnaz and Cuban airborne troops secreted into US airspace by squaking a commercial aircraft IFF.
3) Victory!
4) Profit?

Tam said...

Don't forget the Russkie paras in their stylin' blue berets.

Paul said...

True that. Although a company of armed men can cut a big swath through a farming community when no one believes its happening.

Although if I saw some parachutes floating down I would not assume it is the local gendarmes practicing their insertions.

Buckeye Copperhead said...

If they wanted to do an accurate remake of Red Dawn with realistic enemies, they should have portrayed United Nations troops invading the U.S. Or even United STATES troops invading the U.S. (in a martial law scenario).

I'll still probably go see the movie nonetheless.

Cybrludite said...

Dunno, the Soviets & their Latin American allies or even the PRC make a hell of a lot more sense than the Norks. Slight issue of scale & levels of equipment...

Tam said...


IIRC, they were holding the crucial mountain pass at Clumet for the armored spearheads driving up from Mexico. Plus there were major amphibious invasions on the east and west coasts. It's been a few years since I watched it, though...

(All of which the Russians were no more capable of in '84 than the Norks are in '11.)

Tam said...


There's no way that lumbering cargo aircraft full of paratroopers are penetrating 2,000 miles of hostile airspace to do a division Mass Tac. That's been a fantasy since the end of WWII and the invention of the SAM.

Marcus said...

The North Koreans do not independently have the capability of conquering their South Korean cousins living right next door--so I'm not sure how they will manage the force projection to get over to Estados Unidos and put the damn damn on Uncle Sugar.

My willing suspension of disbelief only stretches so far.

Tango Juliet said...

IMHO the real battle is being fought in our classrooms and the notion of individual freedom isn't winning.

I'm not so concerned with NORKS as I am the NEA.

Murphy's Law said...

Now if the bad guys were an alliance of central and south American nations who pulled off their invasion by just giving a gun to every one of their citizens who was already here illegally...THAT I could believe.

Anonymous said...

We shouldn't even be having this discussion because the movie shouldn't even be getting remade. It's sacrilege. Like re-making the Bible or something.

OK, I confess. I'm talking about Lea Thompson in a beret with an AK:

Any attempts to improve on that kind of perfection is guaranteed to fail.


Living in Babylon said...

Palette swap!

Scorpion, Sub Zero, Smoke, Ermac...they are all out to get me man. I'm telling you.

I am actually kind of interested in the John Milus (who wrote Red Dawn) video game Homefront, in which the premise is a NK invasion.

Lottaguns said...

I'll probably watch it on Netflix. Half the movie was filmed in my old neighborhood.

Bubblehead Les. said...

RE the Original Red Dawn, I understand that Mr. Milius was asked why he came up with concept in the first place. Paraphrasing his reply, he said that the kids in the 80's was the First Generation since the S.A. War NOT to have to go into Combat, and with the end of the Draft, only those who volunteer will would get Military Training. In other words, his whole premise was "How to Use your Wookie Suit Properly, Just in Case". ; )

bluesun said...

How would the N.K.'s even get over here? Do they even have any operational cargo planes?

Anonymous said...

Most likely they'd hire out the Russkies, like the Cubans did in the original.

wv: asism: The school of thought that you can remake Red Dawn and not have it suck.


Cargosquid said...

Its more likely that aliens would invade the US than the Norks.

Oh, wait, they've made that movie.

wv: fecous - a particularly vile and unappetizing type of couscous.

Anonymous said...

Slightly OT, but I've recently been watching the old BBC series "Dad's Army", which is about the Home Guard in Britain during World War II. In the first few episodes, the men are armed only with what they can scrape up: a single shotgun, an antique assegai, and kitchen knives tied to broom handles.

It occured to me that, in many parts of the United States, a "Home Guard" would be slightly better armed than many third-world armies.

On a related note, I recall reading that, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the governor of the Great State of Tennessee asked the state game commissioner if he would issue hunting licenses for Japanese troops. The response was that open season would be declared. In a state that gave us Davy Crockett and Alvin York, I think that boded very, very ill for the Japanese.

Tam said...

Tennessee is, after all, "the patron state of shootin' stuff!" :D

Anonymous said...

@ Living In Babylon - Don't waste your money on Homefront unless you intend on renting it. I bought it the day it came out and beat it within about 3 or 4 days. I think the total time to complete was a bit under 6 hours, so unless you like to do multi-player for hours on end it isn't worth purchasing.

Chas S. Clifton said...

I did not see Red Dawn until some years after it was made, and my first thought was, "We're not in Colorado--unless it's down by Cortez."

Turned out to be Las Vegas, New Mexico, a state which is financially friendlier to moviemakers than Colorado has been for the past couple of decades.

I see this remake is filmed in and around Detroit. Maybe because you can burn down buildings there and no one cares?

Tam said...

It's because Detroit is America's first post-apocalyptic city.

Ancient Woodsman said...

Seems to me the Chicoms were not our enemies in the first version, either. Short Powers Boothe speech around the campfire about "Who's on our side? 600 million screaming Chinamen." "I thought there were a billion screaming chinamen." "There were."

The PC folks aren't trying to avoid p-ing off China, they're probably trying to avoid p-ing off Russia.

The Raving Prophet said...

I just checked in to mention the Homefront game, but that's been covered. The gameplay was a rip off of Call of Duty (same controls, same everything), the single player is extremely short (I beat it in an afternoon). The premise stretches things a bit (if the US is embroiled in an oil crisis bad enough to destroy our economy, the Norks are going to be screwed five ways from Sunday, let alone have the ability to invade). Furthermore, for a game whose main enemy is the North Koreans, I'd expect to see at least ONE Kalashnikov variant, and not see them all dolled up with KRISS subguns and SCARs.

Fun, but only worth 1/3 of what I paid for it, if that.

Robert said...

Never underestimate the power of hollywood to F*up a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the idea of a remake is what drove Charlie Sheen off the reservation! How'd you like to go from Red Dawn, Navy SEALs and Young Guns to a TV sitcom?!:-)

Anonymous said...

"Tam said...
That's been a fantasy since the end of WWII and the invention of the SAM."

You mean AAM's right? I don't know of any decent lower 48 SAM sites.

We have Fighters, but I don't think we have any decent AAA.

WBFF088 said...

I always loved the bright yellow warheads on the RPGs, not to mention the 'pretty' sky blue rocket bodys.

jimbob86 said...

"There's no way that lumbering cargo aircraft full of paratroopers are penetrating 2,000 miles of hostile airspace to do a division Mass Tac. That's been a fantasy since the end of WWII and the invention of the SAM."

IIRC, in the '84 movie, there was an EMP strike that destroyed comms...

I just finished reading "One Second After", and if that EMP scenario ever unfolded, nobody would have to invade: without electricity, you are looking at 90% mortality on the coasts, and 40-50% in the former "bread basket of the world" in the first year alone... between starvation and fighting for what food remained, it's pretty grim.

Tam said...

Anon 3:03,

"You mean AAM's right?"

No, I mean that deep-penetration division Mass Tacs against defended airspace have been a fantasy since the end of WWII and the invention of the SAM.

Yes, by the mid-'80s we had stood down the Nike network and relied on AAMs from interceptors to defend the airspace of the lower 48.

I'm sure we could have scrounged up some Hawk batteries to bag any leakers that got past the Eagles and Delta Darts, though. :)

Britt said...

IIRC Red Dawn was an alternate history where the Soviets took over Nicaragua, then Mexico, giving them the capability to invade through Texas. It's not super implausible, particularly since I think it was implied that Reagan had lost in 1980 and that the US military was in the sorry shape it had been in during the late 70s as a result.

rickn8or said...

Marcus has a point, PRC is holding a pretty tight rein on the Norks.

After all, China doesn't want all those I.O.Us we gave them to turn into waste paper.

og said...

All of this sturm und drang when a revolutionary force could walk across a border, north or south, with precious little fanfare, get gigs working in convenience stores, and arm themselves at Bubba's guns and ammo? Never did get what would make them want to take over the country for several millions when you could do it for several thousands.

B.S. philosopher said...

"It's been a few years since I watched it, though..."

This is UNACCEPTABLE. Hie thee hence and watch it again. You should watch it at least bi-yearly and keep a copy prominently displayed, if only to induce convulsions in lef-tards who might walk past it.


An Ordinary American said...

"There's no way that lumbering cargo aircraft full of paratroopers are penetrating 2,000 miles of hostile airspace to do a division Mass Tac. That's been a fantasy since the end of WWII and the invention of the SAM."

Not exactly. . .

During the late 60's, 70's and early 80's, in the Air Force, we used to do simulated missions to see how to penetrate U.S. airspace.

All commercial airliners (FAR Part 121 carriers) are required to have more than one transponder on board. We had two, sometimes more on all our (USAF) aircraft. Primarily as a backup, but also because in remote radar coverage areas, your transponder squawk was the ONLY way of identifying you.

Most Americans would get a little queasy if they knew just how easy it was to squawk a "friendly" discreet code given to them by ATC and go just about anywhere.

When you fly at the flight levels, there is no ground identification except for transponder squawks.

Sorry, Tam, but the scenario was very much doable (penetrating our airspace) because our airspace is NOT hostile airspace and we do NOT scramble fighters everytime an aircraft approaches our borders so long as they're squawking the requisite assigned transponder code from ATC.

The Soviets and Chinese, on the other hand, scrambled any time anything approached their airspace.

During Operation Chrome Dome, where we circled the Arctic Circle with B52s loaded with nukes, everything that went up got eyeballed by MiGs.

There were parts of the movie that were on the speculative side, but as far as dropping paratroopers in? Doable.


Tam said...

An Ordinary American,

So a few dozen Candids could just squawk like 20 or 30 sudden and unscheduled flights headed for DEN all at the same time, out of the blue, in the middle of heightened tensions, and nobody would blink? Cleverly coordinated with massive sealifts on both coasts?

Pull the other one, it has bells on it.

Ed Foster said...

And yet....

Read the interviews with Marshal Sergei Akromeyev, the last Chief of the Soviet General Staff.

Nobody believed in the "Internationalist Duty", but everyone had to act as if they did, which resulted in the same kind of behavior. According to Uncle Sergei, we came very close in the late 70's, encouraged by the almost total collapse of the U.S. military and the befuddled "leadership" of hapless Jimmy Carter.

General military opinion at the time was that, if we didn't go nuclear, the Soviet advance elements would be on the Rhine in 10 to 12 days, and would have wrapped up most of Germany and the Benelux countries in another two weeks.

If it kicked off in autumn, and given Soviet superiority in arctic warfare, I think a sweep down the Trans-Alaskan Highway might well have been a practical move, especially if the Russians had freed up 15 or 20 divisions by making some kind of accord with the Chinese.

Hell, if it looked like the Russians were making headway, the Chinese might have loaned a few divisions of "volunteers", and Fidel would have had to jump or lose his support from the Kremlin.

With most of the U.S. regular military in Europe or on the east coast waiting movement, the National Guard and it's aging M-48's would have had their hands full.

John Milius did a brilliant job of researching Soviet pacification proceedures and WWII resistance combat. He actually had his convoys of "T-72's" stopped and searched by the Federal government, who were amazed to find them fiberglass dummies on surplus American tracks.

Considering the vintage of the flick, I'd give it a B+.

Today, no.

I could see a North Korean attack during January or February, three or four old freighters launching SCUDs straight up, just outside the twelve mile limit, for a HEMP attack on our infrastructure before crossing the DMZ and heading for Seoul, but their boots on our ground?

They would have to rent aircraft from some American company.

tanksoldier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tanksoldier said...

Unrealistic, true... but they DID mention in the movie that the paras' aircraft mimicked civilian airliner flights & routes from South America.

If the Warsaw Pact kicked off an invasion of Western Europe and selectively nuked US and European cities & bases (implied in the movie) and pasted the Chinese with nukes (also in the movie) then used the divisions facing China to move into Alaska & Western Canada...

wv: comentav coincidence?

Cybrludite said...

The film also mentioned infiltration of NORAD by illegals who passed themselves as natives & enlisted. At any rate, my point was that unlike North Korea, the Soviets actually had IL-76s.

Ted said...

I was thinking the modern version might be a large number of Chicom lawyers, debt collectors,and repo men parachuting in. A lot less drama to that one. No one would be surprised if ordinary citizens started shooting at lawyers.

An Ordinary American said...


"So a few dozen Candids could just squawk like 20 or 30 sudden and unscheduled flights headed for DEN all at the same time, out of the blue, in the middle of heightened tensions, and nobody would blink? Cleverly coordinated with massive sealifts on both coasts?

Pull the other one, it has bells on it."


Not sure where you were in the late 70's/early 80's, but I was in uniform flying those very missions.

Bear in mind that there were no cell phones, no faxes, no internet, no personal computers, no GPS and our TRACON abilities were spotty out west on the best of days.

Secondly, U.S. airspace has never been considered hostile. Unlike our (then) communist counterparts, we did not send up fighters to eyeball every approaching aircraft from Aeroflot into our airspace. There were strategic areas where we did send up the new Eagles and Falcons, but that was in areas where we monitored Bear launches.

Third, who said anything about "20 or 30" flights all converging on KDEN? We could carry up to 170 paratroopers in the C-141B, and we routinely took those guys up to practice HAHO jumps.

Fourth, who said all flights were inbound to KDEN?

Fifth, back then in those days, you filed your (international) flight plan to the U.S., and upon reaching the buffer zone (entry into U.S. airspace), you contacted Center with your flight specifics and the last controlling authority would do a manual hand-off to that Center, which included your transponder squawk code.

The unlikeliness of the Red Dawn plot wasn't because of an inability to easily penetrate U.S. airspace undetected, it was because the Soviets were geared towards brute force missions rather than finesse missions. This was even moreso when dealing with their "socialist fraternal allies."

Thing is, you only had one shot at a scenario like that. Once it happened, the door was shut forever.

Thanks to 9/11, there are a lot more safeguards and procedures in place that would make such a mission all but impossible.

But back in the late 70's/early 80's? Not impossible at all.


Geodkyt said...

Tam --

In the original movie, there was no amphib landing on both coasts.

Ground invasion through Texas (Mexico had gone from "Third World Pesthole of Corruption" to "Peoples Democratic Republic"), with paras sent in to sieze key points (such as the passes in the mountains).

Col. Andy Tanner: [Describing the invasion] West Coast. East Coast. Down here is Mexico. First wave of the attack came in disguised as commercial charter flights same way they did in Afghanistan in '80. Only they were crack Airborne outfits. Now they took these passes in the Rockies.

Jed Eckert: So that's what hit Calumet.

Col. Andy Tanner: I guess so. They coordinated with selective nuke strikes and the missiles were a helluva lot more accurate than we thought. They took out the silos here in the Dakotas, key points of communication.

Darryl Bates: Like what?

Col. Andy Tanner: Oh, like Omaha, Washington, Kansas City.

Darryl Bates: Gone?

Col. Andy Tanner: Yeah. That's right. Infiltrators came up illegal from Mexico. Cubans mostly. They managed to infiltrate SAC bases in the Midwest, several down in Texas and wreaked a helluva lot of havoc, I'm here to tell you. They opened up the door down here, and the whole Cuban & Nicaraguan armies come walking right through, rolled right up here through the Great Plains.

Robert: How far did they get?

Col. Andy Tanner: Cheyenne, across to Kansas. We held them at the Rockies and the Mississippi. Anyway, the Russians reinforced with 60 divisions. Sent three whole army groups across the Bering Strait into Alaska, cut the pipeline, came across Canada to link up here in the middle, but we stopped their butt cold. The lines have pretty much stabilized now.

Robert: What about Europe?

Col. Andy Tanner: I guess they figured twice in one century was enough. They're sitting this one out. All except England, and they won't last very long.

Geodkyt said...

Now, I don't see how the Norks would manage to pull it off, nor even the Chinese.

Hell, I'm not certain how the Russians (in the original) would have crossed the Bering in autumn and then crossed Alaska into Canada and through the Rockies -- the road net doesn't run that way E-W, and the terrain won't accomodate it without roads (Hell, short of hardpan wasteland like Iraq, no major military land operation is operating off the road axis).

So, we're talking about the Sovs fighting their way south down the Alaskan Highway or Klondike Highway (both of which come together at a single point) through canada, to get to the Plains? That ain't no way to run a railroad -- or an armored invasion.

Easier to sieze the Canal and ship 'em to Nicaragua to drive north as the second wave up the PanAmerican Highway. . .

Tam said...


Obviously when the movie came out, I was only a bright-eyed little AFJROTC cadet (and thank you for your service!).

But that wasn't a lone Candid; that was at least a regimental drop. Don't forget the BMD's rolling down the main street of Calumet and enough Soviet desant troopies to sieze an entire town and the nearby mountain passes...

Tam said...

Oh, and regarding Ed's post...

Yes, the T-72 mockups were convincing enough that legend has it some very curious feds pulled over the flatbed transporting one and inquired as to where it had come from. :D

Tam said...


"So, we're talking about the Sovs fighting their way south down the Alaskan Highway or Klondike Highway (both of which come together at a single point) through canada, to get to the Plains? That ain't no way to run a railroad -- or an armored invasion."

What, did they copy Sir Bernard Law's homework? :D

An Ordinary American said...


We can look at the movie today and feel pretty confident that such a scenario would not/could not happen in today's times.

Although, with the Kenyan Imposter we have as CIC. . .

But back then, part of the intangibles that went into our war-game planning was the intangible of "It's either Now or Never for the Soviets."

Remember: We had a REAL Commander-in-Chief in Reagan, and the Soviets were scared shitless of him.

So back then, the timing of the movie was pretty good, actually.

But again, having been trained and done missions back in those days, I'm pretty confident in saying that the Soviets' Achilles Heel was in their inability to coordinate complex missions with their allies.

Conversely, that has always been a strength of ours.

And, believe it or not (grin), we even had a couple of OpForce missions during a Red Flag at Nellis AFB in which we (our crew) got to do mock infiltrations of U.S. airspace to see how quickly the Eagles and Falcons could find us.

Didn't take those fighter pukes very long at all. . .

Today's biggest problem will be in having someone at the Pentagon and White House SitRoom with the stones to give the "splash" order on a civilian airliner.

War is an ugly, ugly thing. I never want to go through some of the stuff we did ever again.

At the same time, I'll be damned if I bend over or acquiesce to these terrorist SOBs or tinhorn dictators that want to threaten our way of life.

Sometimes you just can't win.

I still enjoy the movie, though. I like the message of self-determination and not waiting on the government to bail you out.

Which is another reason that it is totally infeasible in today's times.

How far did you go with the AFROTC?