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Don’t go see “Red Dawn”

This year on Nov. 9, the world will celebrate the official 23rd anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany. Although not the official end of the Cold War, this event is seen as one of the defining elements that marked the decline of the tense conflict.

This year also marks the 21st anniversary of the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the official end of the Cold War — not to mention the release of 44 years of tension that had been bottled up during the period.


This means that, as of Christmas of this year, children of America who were officially born out of the shadow of the Cold War will be old enough to drink and gamble — and while automotive rental companies may not feel the same way, the United States government will more or less consider these people full blown adults.

So I have a question. With the first generation of children to not live in the Cold War’s shadow of fear and darkness now reaching adulthood, why the hell is Hollywood remaking “Red Dawn”?

Oh sure, this time it’s North Koreans instead of Russians, but the tone of every film or video game that has involved an invasion of America over the last 10 years has always followed the same concept.

America gets caught with its pants down by one of our many communist enemies around the globe, but then the Army, the Navy, the Air Force — or in this case High Schoolers — grab their guns and rocket launchers and fights off the invading force.

It doesn’t make sense, that isn’t the sort of world we live in anymore. Sure, China is an economic powerhouse and Russia is no spring chicken, but in terms of military spending China spends 1/7th of what we do and the Russian military budget is almost an order of magnitude smaller than ours. On top of that the next 12 countries in order of military spending are all allied with America. Or at least aren’t politically against us.

It seems that — for now at least — the era of symmetric warfare is dead. So why are we still seeing films about “alternative future” conflicts? I suppose one might argue that this stuff is entertainment or escapism from the all the failed asymmetric wars we’ve fought over the last 30 years, but if that’s the case, why not use aliens or bugs from the core of the earth or the British as America’s enemy? At this point in time those are all just as likely to invade America as North Korea.

Speaking of North Korea invading us, that’s one of the dumbest premises I’ve ever heard. The same premise happened with the video game “Homefront.” Everyone knows when North Korea is mentioned as seriously challenging American military might it’s just a stand in for China, but that’s not any better.

China is not our enemy. They are a rival. They may be a scummy rival that cheats and whines and sure as heck doesn’t play fair, but they have just as much riding on America staying a stable (and spending) nation state as we do. Like it or not our economies are viciously intertwined, and without one, the other will fall at this point.

Making paranoid, borderline propaganda, war porn schlock like this does not help anyone anywhere except production studios in Hollywood and warmongers in Washington. The world isn’t made a better place by insinuating that other people want us dead. In fact, instilling a sense of fear like this is more the realm of terrorism than filmography.


So don’t see this movie. Don’t accept a free ticket to a showing, don’t let your parents take you to it, don’t watch it when it shows up at Redbox or pops up in your Netflix instant queue or when TBS decides to play it, don’t see it at the cheap theatre or the drive in, don’t even pirate it (not that you should pirate movies anyway).

Because, if you watch this movie, you open your mind to the possibility of fear. You open your mind to the mindset that put the world on edge for more than 40 years and almost destroyed it. If you watch the remake of “Red Dawn,” the terrorists win.

Hamilton Reed is a senior computer science major. His columns appear Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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