Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Red Dawn" is not a conservative film
It is a stupid film

It is said:

 Red Dawn (1984): From the safe, familiar environment of a classroom, we watch countless parachutes drop from the sky and into the heart of America. Oh, no: invading Commies! Laugh if you want — many do — but Red Dawn has survived countless more acclaimed films because Father Time has always been our most reliable film critic. The essence of timelessness is more than beauty. It’s also truth, and the truth that America is a place and an idea worth fighting and dying for will not be denied, not under a pile of left-wing critiques or even Red Dawn’s own melodramatic flaws. Released at the midpoint of Reagan’s presidential showdown with the Soviet Union, this story of what was at stake in the Cold War endures. 

Sed contra:

The opening of this film is breathtaking. I was literally left gasping for breath in amazement. I can't think of any other film that manages to cram as much military silliness into three minutes.

Your peaceful, remote American town is suddenly invaded by Soviet paratroopers. Why? Well, one might guess, because there's a war on. And that means if you see something rolling toward you, it's probably not the Welcome Wagon. So what do you do? Well, I didn't go to West Point, but my guess is the first few guys to land shed their chutes and set up a defensive perimeter for the rest of the troops.

Evidently Soviet doctrine was that as soon as you land, you run into the nearest town and start randomly shooting everything up. Because, even while chutes are still descending, there are Russkis in town doing just that. Taking out vital installations like, oh, a high school classroom and then, for good measure, firing a rocket propelled grenade down a hallway to take out what appears to be a blank, wood paneled wall. I could see if it was the school's trophy case or a bank of gym lockers or something, but a blank wall? Wait till they get the bill for the woodwork! That will teach the capitalist oppressors to mess with the glorious workers' paradise! Also, they blew up a school bus.

And why do you send in paratroopers? In the vast majority of real airborne invasions, the intent was to seize an airfield so follow-on troops and supplies could land, or capture a bridge to deny it to the enemy or prevent them from destroying it. So wouldn't it be nice to have at least some vague indication this town had military significance? Like a stream for a bridge to cross, or an airfield capable of handling more than a crop duster? But there has never been an airborne operation in history where the paratroopers dropped in just to seize a location just for the sake of seizing it. And who drops just a company of soldiers (which is about all we see dropping)? There have been small airborne operations where the force was small for secrecy. But that sort of went iz okna (out the window) when they jumped in broad daylight on the outskirts of town and started shooting.

If, for example, one were to define to Conservatism as a complete ignorance of military matters coupled with a tremendous enthusiasm for conducting them - and after the last 8 years, I can see why people might think that - then I suppose it is a conservative film. 

How terribly sad.

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