Saturday, 26 March 2011

Red Dawn

The second film watched is Red Dawn, a throw back to the days of the cold war when there was only one enemy Russia and Communism. It was released in 1984. The subject is World War III which takes places with the successful invasion of the USA but a stalemate reached with the territory divided. The situation arises because the rest of NATO except for the UK reaches a compromise with the Soviet Union allowing them to invade the USA to take command of the Wheat belt because of the failure of the Russian harvest in the Ukraine. There is also communist revolution in Mexico which provides the America platform for the invasion.

The film opens with the aerial invasion on a small town in Colorado where half a dozen High School friends manage to get away including two brothers played by the youthful Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen. They visit the general and field sports store owned by the father of one of their friends Robert and stock up with food drink, hunting riffles and ammunition, and then head for the mountains. The town is taken over and used as a base with KGB arresting and getting rid of potential rebels. Also in charge appears to be a Cuban revolutionary called Bella whose troops are also part of the occupation force. He tells the KGB to get holds of the records showing who owns firearms in the town. After surviving for several weeks the High School kids decide to make their way back to town to find out what has happened to their families. The town is being used as a re-education centre for likely dissidents where the two brothers find their father is being held .

On their way back to the nature reserve where they are hiding they visit a elderly couple who explain that they are 40 miles within occupied territory, which means they are comparatively close to what remains as free America. The couple provide them with a field radio to keep in touch with what is happening and ask them to take care of their two teenage grand daughters and protect them from the soldiers who have been raping the women.

A couple of officers and driver go on a site seeing tour and discover one of the party who are hiding close by. They are forced to kill the men to save themselves and this leads to a large number of the people in the town being executed. This turns the small band into an avenging group calling themselves the Wolverines after their school mascot. We are not shown how they are able to acquire the weaponry of guerrillas, including hand rocket launchers grenades, rapid fire guns and the skill to use the arms effectively. The retaliation continues including the execution of the brother’s father, with the father of Robert who supplied the hunting guns executed early on because of his actions. The two girls have also become active guerrillas and killers. The Cuban Major begins to question the approach being taken and their occupation of the town,

The group find a downed Free America pilot and he joins the group and becomes friendly with one of the girls. He advises that several cities were destroyed by nuclear attacks including Washington, Kansas, Omaha and Nebraska in the surprise attack because of sleepers and infiltrators from Mexico before being supported by armies from Cuba and Nicaragua and Russian special forces. Russian divisions and captured Alaska and then Canada, but a grouping forces had managed to keep the free area and since the Russians need the food production area of the USA and the USA did not want to destroy its own area they were fighting using conventional weapons hence the stalemate. With his help the group escalate their guerrilla activities with increasing success to the extent that they are regarded a meriting especial attention from the authorities who send a specialist officer to take charge and who abandons the retaliatory hostage taking and executions for a policy of hunting the group.

The success of the group without casualties cannot continue indefinitely and the pilot and one of the group die. Another member of the group goes into town on his own against explicit instructions is captured and ordered to swallow a homing device which leads an assault group to reach the guerrillas but their defence and firepower is such that they defeat the assault group and discover the tracking device and the betrayal. They kill the survivor who explains the tracking device and discovering the traitor, Swayze who is the leader, decides that they should kill him, but he finds it impossible to do this and the execution is carried out by one the girls.

Having survived this they fall into the next trap when they stop to enjoy some fresh fruit and other produce “accidentally” dropped at the roadside by a passing supply vehicles they were planning to ambush. This delay, and possibly more tracking devices result in the group being attacked by three powerful gunships one they managed to disable but the losses are heavy. There are only four left, the two brothers and one of the young men and one of the girls. These two are told to make their way to free America and tell people of the fight which group put up. The two brothers launch what they believe is going to be a last ditch battle attacking the command centre in their home town. They manage to kill the specialist brought in with the KGB man killed earlier. The younger brother, played by Sheen is mortally wounded and as he is being taken away by the older brother they are confronted with the Cuban Bella who cannot bring himself to kill them, however the conclusion of the film suggests that the older brother also died if not immediately then before the war ended.

The film then moves to the point where the fight back had commenced with the killing of the soldier at a tourist view point. Erica who has survived is there and we are shown the Plaque and Partisan Rock on which is inscribed the names of each of the group as they died. The plaque reads.. In the early days of World War III, guerrillas - mostly children placed the names of the lost upon this rock. They fought here alone and gave up their lives, so that this nation shall not perish from the earth.” I winced at this because in reality it was not about a nation as such but about issues such as talked about in that important House of Commons Debate of a week ago, in the city squares of North Africa and the Persian Gulf and at the time of writing in Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park London.

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