Red Dawn 2010: The Chinese are coming

In 1984, Patrick Swayze fought the evil empire to a standstill. But a new danger threatens...

Published December 8, 2009 7:28PM (EST)

As if we needed any further proof that, from the vantage point of American pop culture, China has solidified its position as evil empire of the 21st century: Due in theaters next fall, a remake of the '80s classic "Red Dawn" -- but this time with Chinese invaders replacing the original Russkies. (Found via a tweet from Kaiser Kuo.)

I suppose some movie aficionados might quibble with the "classic" sobriquet. But they would be foolish to do so. The original "Red Dawn" provided a key early showcase for the talents of both Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen and perfectly captured the cartoon elements of Reagan-era Cold War posturing. And while some moviegoers at the time might have judged unrealistic the prospect of a handful of plucky Michigan teenagers -- the Wolverines! -- fighting the mighty Red Army to a standstill, there's no getting around the historical reality that within five years of "Red Dawn's" premiere, the Soviet Union had effectively collapsed. As many a rowdy bar patron would discover in the future, you just don't mess around with Patrick Swayze. He will take you and your totalitarian communist army down.

The new "Red Dawn 2010" stars Josh Peck as one the latter-day teens determined to resist the forces of collectivism. Peck is best known as the shlubby half of the Nickelodeon teen duo that starred in "The Adventures of Drake and Josh." Here's hoping that Josh has been working out lately, because as last seen on Nick, he was no Patrick Swayze. But maybe that's just part of Hollywood's fiendish plan to lull the Chinese into a sense of complacency before our cultural commissars destroy the People's Republic just as they did the USSR.

The best parts of "Red Dawn 2010" -- judging from the various trailers and YouTube videos leaking across the Net, are the socialist realist Chinese propaganda posters adorning the crumbling walls of Detroit slums. Judging by the poster slogans, -- "Repairing Your Economy," "Helping You Back On Your Feet," "Defeating Your Enemy" (complete with a sledgehammer busting up the Capitol building) the Chinese have chosen to invade while the U.S. is in the middle of deep economic trouble. And by depicting Washington as the problem, the Chinese are deftly attempting to rally both the populist TeaParty Right and the disenchanted progressive left to their cause. Real socialists to save us from the faux socialists!

Given that the the invasion is supposed to occur in 2010, the chances that the U.S. will remain mired in the economic doldrums, with the masses yearning for for delivery from our woes via foreign hands, could be high. So here's a little more pressure for the Obama administration. Fix our economic problems now, or the Chinese will arrive to fix them for us.

UPDATE: Grey Munford, Director of Corporate Publicity, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., responds:

Saw your post and just wanted to correct one thing about your synopsis. The 2010 version of Red Dawn begins when the Chinese and Russians attack a small northwestern town and a group of teenagers take the fight to the intruders in an attempt to disrupt the invasion and save their home.

Chinese and Russians! The plot thickens.




By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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