When Red Dawn first performed in 1984, it provided an inconceivably frightening vision of America. “Red Dawn” tells the story of an Americas invaded by a coalition of Soviet, Cuban, and Nicaraguan forces as well as high-school students who resisted them and stormed host of stars like Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and Lea Thompson in the 1980s.
Released shortly before the end of the Cold War, the movie addressed the distrust of America of everything in the Soviet world, as well as its fear of other countries being overcome. Teens enjoyed to be the protagonist defending the country, while older spectators saw their young people’s international bogeyman followed by decades of threats.
For those who enjoyed the original “Red Dawn”—the less about the restoration of 2012, the better—there is another movie about the same period that takes very similar notes.
Toy Soldiers Hits Similar Notes
Directed by Daniel Petrie Jr., “Toy Soldiers” performed in 1991 with a performance performance of Sean Astin, Wil Wheaton and Louis Gossett Jr. Astin and Wheaton play Billy and Joey, students who attend a high-ranking all-boy school where Gossett’s Edward Parker is the doctor.
One of its fellow students, Phil Donoghue, is the son of a Federal judge who chairs the trial of Enrique Cali, a well-known Colombian drug king. His son, Luis, is trying to secure the release of Cali and is taking over armed school in the hope of swapping Enrique for Phil, who, unknown to Luis, has already relocated with his family in a secure location.
Although at first frightened by the absence of Phil, Luis realizes that he has as his robbers the children of America’s richest and most influential families. But together with a few other troubled students, Billy and Joey decide to fight back.
Although the scale of the “Toy Soldiers” threat is much less than the “Red Dawn” threat, the two films have multiple comparisons. While the “Red Dawn” shocked audiences by their representation of an invaded America and questioned its supposed unfailing dominance, the “Toy Soldiers” showed that the seemingly untouchable elites, namely their children, are exploitable. Both films show young students who are relatively untrained instead of using hardened U.S. troops.
Both used fitting antagonists: “Red Dawn” uses the Cold War, and “Toy Soldiers” uses the growing threat of foreign terrorists acting on American territory after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
While “Toy Soldiers” might never be a classic film, like “Red Dawn” viewers were called upon to imagine the impossible while revealing vulnerabilities that we would like to ignore.
Movies You Had No Idea They Remade
Hollywood has so many remakes, reboots, and sequels that it seems that the original films are shifted and don’t have a chance. Yeah, perhaps, but the glut of all-old, all-new movies of the last decade has reached the critical mass, so that some remakes come and go, largely ignored, or eventually forgotten.
(These types of defeats serve the purpose of a rework: they are secure, known and have an incorporated name, which ensures a “safe” investment in a film studio.) Here are some recent remakes that would only have been seen by a real film buff (or someone who loves bad movies).
Those who were too young to remember were at the peak of the Cold War, in the 1980s, or at least the fear of Soviet invasion and takeover. Red Dawn’s 1984 film expressed the Western anxiety in an equally terrifying and inexplicable way: Communist paratroopers invade Colorado.
Fighting and eventually repelling them were a bunch of tough-as-nails, gun-toting high school children. (Read: actors in their twenties cast as children at high school, such as Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen.)
Shortly after its release, Red Dawn was declared the most violent film ever made by the National Coalition on Television Violence, with over 250 violent acts. But these children did the job and America prevailed. The collapse of the Soviet Union some years later gives some date to the original Red Dawn, but Hollywood couldn’t leave the simple formula of “teens to defeat the evil invaders.”
The film was restored in 2009 and released in 2012 — now the young people were led by a Marine (Chris Hemsworth) and the invaders came from one of North Korea’s last bastions of communism. But when the film was produced, China’s bad guys changed MGM in order not to eliminate the potential of this country as a box office.
Adventures In Babysitting
Another ’80s classic that a generation remembered with fondness, because constantly broadcasting on cable TV, 1987’s Adventures in Babysitting sometimes was funny, sometimes frightful, and so impressive because of the stakes.
It has a simple story that echoes: a babysitter has to rise up to the moment to rescue a friend who is trapped in town and is facing all kinds of barriers and small children in tow. In 2006 Disney announced plans to reboot the movie as a vehicle for two of its Disney Channel stars: Raven-Symone of So Raven, and Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus.
A planned release in 2010 never happened, but the movie was finally refurbished as an original Disney Channel TV-film in 2016. There were two more contemporary stars of Disney Channel, Sabrina Carpenter (Girl Meets World) and Sofia Carson (Descendants).
The Death Race 2000 feature film was released in 1975. It is set in a future dystopian USA with the main form of entertainment being a global car race, which strongly encourages violence and murder among participants. And it is in the distant, distant year of … 2000.
It’s like a cult classic and favorite “midnight movie.” A car-centric, fast and furious cash in a remake came and was soon forgotten in 2008, the distant year of 2012. Jason Statham and Tyrese Gibson (as opposed to David Carradine and Stallone).
And the death-race on television is held on the premises of an island jail. The film made 75 million dollars in the box office, just enough to produce two direct-to-video Prequels, confusingly entitled Death Race 2 and Death Race 3.
The Shining is indeed one of the most disturbing films ever made and one of the most acclaimed horror films of all time. In 1980, Stanley Kubrick adapted Stephen Kings book about a writer named Jack Torrance, who slowly succumbed to the supernatural evil forces as he served the winter caretaker in a hotel. However, what does Stanley Kubrick know about movies? That’s King’s feeling pretty much.
He was very disappointed with Kubrick’s interpretation of his novel; in 2013 he told the BBC that Shelley Duvall’s direction as Wendy Torrance is “one of the most misogynist characters ever filmed,” that “she’s basically there to shout and to be dumb, and not the woman I wrote about.”
A year later, he told Rolling Stone that the film totally ignores the arc of the book, where Jack tries to be good but becomes crazy slowly. “Jack was crazy from the first scene when I saw the film. At the time, I had to keep my mouth shut.” But in 1997 he didn’t have to shut his mouth.
The Shining for ABC, a network that produced versions of King’s The Stand, It and The Tommyknocker, was fully endorsed by him in 1997. Replacing Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance as the 12-time Academy Award candidate: Steven Weber, the guy from that show Wings.
It is one of the most famous movies of Alfred Hitchcock: Jimmy Stewart plays with a broken leg a man confined to his bedroom. He gets bored and starts looking at his neighbors with binoculars to spy a murder and a cover-up inadvertently.
The 1954 film is so well-known that even people who have not seen it technically know it — the plot was used and played on many TV shows such as Castle, Get Smart, The 70s Show, Alf, The Flintsones and The Simpsons.
In 1998, the film itself was refurbished as a week-long movie for ABC. It fits the original plot faithfully (it would be foolhardy to alter Hitchcock too much), but it is remarkable for Christopher Reeve’s acting return. He played the leading role in the murder of a wheelchair-bound man.
It was his first work since a devastating horse injury that almost totally paralyzed him less than three years previously. Reeve was nominated for a Golden Globe and received a Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance.
Hollywood was for a while aggressively trying to make a film star out of Russel Brand, the British stand-up comedian who looked like a rock star of the 1970s, speaking as a Cambridge professor about politics and culture.
After a breakaway role in forgetting Sarah Marshall, star in his spinoff Get Him to Greek, and a marriage to pop star Katy Perry, Brand took the lead in the renovation of Arthur’s loved comedy of 1981 in 2001. Dudley Moore got a Best Actor Node to play the title roll of a drunk, solitary, lovely millionaire and John Gielgud won Best Support Acteur for playing Arthur’s manservant) (It was even one of the rare comedies to receive Oscar nominations in acting categories).
While Brand has received critical praise for his performance, Arthur has increased his $40 million budget by only $33 million at his domestic box office. Publics couldn’t handle anybody but Dudley Moore’s hilarious alcoholics.
The 1985 release of Fright Night is a slight horror classic about a horror-obsessed teenager (William Ragsdale) who believes his creepy neighbor is a psychopathic vampire (Chris Sarandon).
Nobody believes… but guess what? What? He’s right. He’s right. Fright Night didn’t really have to be refurbished, but a new version came in 2011. It accelerated the comedy with a screenplay of Marti Noxon’s genre (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel).
Starring Anton Yelchin late as the horrified teenager and Colin Farrell as the bloodsucker, he earned positive reviews but attracted only $18 million in the household, less than the original made almost 30 years before.