Someone in Ukraine really liked 'Red Dawn'

Originally published at: Someone in Ukraine really liked 'Red Dawn' | Boing Boing


Life imitating art, imitating life?


I have no idea how Red Dawn plays to people in the former second world, so no judgment there.

But we should not be encouraging the part of America’s brain that produced that movie. Have you watched it as an adult? Because it’s beyond insane. It makes Leni Riefenstahl look like Michael Moore.


Interestingly thanks to John Milius’s fetish for accurate looking military weapons, Red Dawn features some of the most realistic mockups of Soviet vehicles for the era. Long before the real things were available for US/Western European filmmakers about a decade later.

I remember seeing the movie with my Dad who was an Army Reserves officer at the time. He reaction to the ambush scene was “how did they get ‘Hind’s’ (feared Soviet attack copters) for a movie?”


They had their own version of “Rambo”


And it worked. As a youth, I and my friends were all-in on its brand of jingoistic, psuedo-patriotic, fear-mongering propaganda. Took a long time to shake that programming. The 80s were fucked up.


That one, too. I must’ve watched that flick twenty times as a kid. As an adult, I find it unwatchable, not only because of the jingoism, but because it’s sooooo boring.


You have no idea. Okay, maybe you do.
I recently watched Firefox for the second time in my life. Hoo-boy. :roll_eyes:


We have a local GQP/kkkpublican that has that scrolled on the side of his lifted pickup with 40 inch tires, apparently oblivious to the “self-own” he put on his $100k 4x4 POS.


This 1985 action-adventure film pits a detachment of Soviet naval infantry (equivalent of the U.S. Marine Corps in the Soviet Union) against the CIA, U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy. A CIA operation to prevent a summit that threatens to undermine profits of defense contractors goes awry, and Major Shatokhin of the Soviet naval infantry has to lead his men on a mission to prevent World War III.


It had a “Murderer’s Row” casting-wise of character actors and up and comer youth actors, Powers Boothe in his most visible role at the time, Harry Dean Stanton, Ben Johnson, a former Bond villain (Vladek Sheybal), Superfly! (Ron O’Neal), and one of the most prolific tough guys in genre films (William Smith)


For sure. I remember watching it with a friend–we were late teens–and being utterly convinced that “this is how it would go down.” Not could. Would. The film worked because there was an existential threat that seemed beyond anybody’s normal coping ability. I mean, if the ICBMs start flying we were going to be helpless. But Red Dawn was the story of a known enemy attacking in a way that seemed to offer hope for resistance of some kind. It was relatable in that sense.

I was on the set when they were filming the remake in Detroit, for Weird Reasons, and talking to a young Production Assistant. He was gushing about all the updated CGI, the props, etc etc, and how the new Red Dawn would be a smash hit because the production value was so much higher. He asked what I thought, and I said “this movie isn’t going to do well at all. A flop, for sure.” I told him that I thought that what resonated about the original wasn’t the accuracy of the hardware, though that was cool, but that the threat was real. OTOH, nobody really saw the Chinese as being on the verge of invading the US. The entire premise was beyond unrealistic. There wasn’t a culture of fear about the Chinese in the same way there was about the Soviets. The PA quite seriously informed me that the people bankrolling the movie believed otherwise, and knew a lot about making movies. Esh.

NB: I love that in the attached clip the Soviet tank is running out of gas and needs to steal a refill from a local station. I guess the movie got that part right.


And even less so about the North Koreans, after that remake digitally erased all the references to China. :laughing:


Much of the 80s film ouvre fits into this realm. Awful propagandistic shit.

A lot of action moves can be understood as violence against what white Americans fear. In the 80s is started as Russians and Soviets, with a few European terrorists mixed in, then we had a decade or so of violent Colombians mixed with some ‘crazy jihadists’ from Libya etc.

2000s were over-fixated on Islamic terrorists.

I have seen extremely few US made action moves about the people who actually kill the most humans in the US (right wing terrorists). Presumably because white people don’t fear them.


There are now a few movies where the Confederates and old-timey KKK show up as bad guys, but it took a heck of a long time to get there.


I was raised next to Fort Drum, NY. One winter, my cousin and I were aware of some winter war games underway, and we knew that the trail they used to train novice cross-country skiers was across the Black River from our town. One Friday evening, we were expecting 3 inches of snow. So we took it upon ourselves to walk over to base (which we could freely do at the time), and used mason line to set up a series of trip lines across the trail. They were covered in snow overnight. We woke up early, went to our side of the riverbank, and constructed a snow blind to hide behind so we could watch. It worked like a charm! It was so hilarious watching the first three skiers go down at the first three lines they hit, before getting savvy and sending a scout forward to cut the rest. We both gave ourselves brain hemorrhages trying to stifle our laughter! The soldiers probably thought it was part of the training. red Dawn came out two years later, and rang kinda true for us. If two tweenagers can make ski training more interesting…


It looks like it suffered really bad maintenance for years before that. Maybe that’s mostly mud and not rust, but…


Aw, man, when he slaps that one guy, tho.


Do you mean as primary villains, or more in period pieces?

Blazing Saddles used KKK hoods and cloaks to good effect, but it’s a comedy above all.


They’ve been a villain of action movies with domestic terrorists for a while. Probably the goofiest example is the 70’s blaxploitation film “Three the Hard Way”, where they have a fiendish plot to unleash a bioweapon which only kills black people.


Let’s hope Russia isn’t occupying Ukraine for a generation like in the movie.