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Original ‘Red Dawn’ director takes aim at the remake

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Filmgoers who go see MGM’s ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ this weekend will catch several references to ‘Red Dawn,’ the 1984 Cold War action film that MGM is remaking.

But ask John Milius, who directed and co-wrote the original, what he thinks of that remake and the answer is simple.
Not much.

‘I think it’s a stupid thing to do. The movie is not very old,’ says Milius, who’s not involved in the new film but was given a chance to read the new script. ‘It was terrible. There was a strange feeling to the whole thing. They were fans of the movie so they put in stuff they thought was neat. It’s all about neat action scenes, and has nothing to do with story.’

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In the original film, the Soviet Union has invaded the continental United States, and a group of young men and women (Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey) band together as a guerrilla group, nicknamed the Wolverines, to fight off the occupiers. In the 2010 edition, directed by Dan Bradley and starring Chris Hemsworth and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the villains are the Chinese.

While the new baddies might tap into American fears about a rising China, to Milius it makes little political sense. “There’s only one example in 4,000 years of Chinese territorial adventurism, and that was in 1979, when they invaded Vietnam, and to put it mildly they got their [butts] handed to them,“ says Milius, noting that China built a wall to separate itself from invaders. “Why would China want us? They sell us stuff. We’re a market. I would have done it about Mexico.’
“Red Dawn” isn’t the only Milius film getting a new treatment. Marcus Nispel (“Friday the 13th’) is making a new “Conan,” a retelling of the mythology that Milius explored in the 1982 film “Conan the Barbarian,” which launched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career. But Milius is not too psyched about ‘Conan’ either -- or remakes in general. “No one wants their movie remade, especially when the movies take on a life of their own,’ he says.

--Rachel Abramowit

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