Movie Review: RED DAWN (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray

RED DAWN was directed by John Milius from a story by Kevin Reynolds and stars Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Grey, Doug Toby, Brad Savage, Powers Boothe and Harry Dean Stanton.

From legendary writer-director John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Conan The Barbarian) comes the tale of what-could-have-been, had the Cold War gone another way. When Communist paratroopers descend on a Colorado high school football field, a group of the school’s students wages an all-out guerilla war to save their town — and their country. Featuring an all-star cast, including Patrick Swayze (Road House), Charlie Sheen (Platoon), Lea Thompson (Back To The Future), C. Thomas Howell (The Outsiders), Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing), Powers Boothe (Tombstone) and Harry Dean Stanton (Alien), Red Dawn “comes up like thunder” (New York Post)!

This 1984 invasion classic features one of those iconic opening scenes in cinematic history. The viewer watches the invasion begin with Russian and Cuban paratroopers landing right in the school yard where a high school teacher walks out and gets sprayed down right in front of his students. The movie follows this small group of rebellious teenagers who escape their small town that has been taken over by the enemy and they set up camp in the mountains. They come up with a plan to counter attack the invading forces using guerrilla warfare. The group of teenage heroes take out small factions one by one and become a big headache for the enemy. It strikes such a nerve with the foreign leaders in charge and leads to the ultimate showdown between the heroic Wolverines and the evil Communists that landed in their backyards.

John Milius was a tough guy director who was already known for his popular action movies when he signed on to direct this one that would star a crop of fresh new faces that would quickly become household names. What Milius and his talented cast and crew delivered would ultimately become one of the signature action movie classics from the 80’s and one of my all-time personal favorites. The timing for a movie like this could not have been better since the tensions were so high between the United States and Russia. It’s a war movie that includes some intense action scenes and violence but it’s also a character driven drama fueled with some powerful emotions. The movie includes some amazing performances by this talented cast who all have their time to shine. The late Patrick Swayze’s character Jed is the fearless leader but it’s C. Thomas Howell’s character Robert who kind of steals the show. He starts off as a greenhorn who doesn’t have any hunting or survival experience and by the end of the movie he’s this cold and war-torn rebel with no fear in his eyes. Red Dawn was also Charlie Sheen’s very first movie. This journey of survival is truly a coming-of-age experience.

The packaging comes with a slipcover. The front features the all-new artwork you see up top and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The Blu-ray disc also features its own individual artwork. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork so you have your choice of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Red Dawn is already a fantastic war classic in its own right plus it’s a film that has even had a very unnecessary remake that was released back in 2012. If you’re a movie, you know you’ve made it when you get an unnecessary remake. We all know Hollyweird and those terrible remakes they love to crank out! Anyway, this well crafted World War III invasion classic was released back in the early 80’s when the Cold War was slowly coming to an end. Tensions between the United States and Russia were still high so a movie like this definitely struck a nerve with some people. The politically correct crowd to be exact. Every generation has had their own batch of war classics and Red Dawn fits perfectly with the 80’s – a decade that cranked out quite a few war classics. This Generation X invasion thriller was also the very first movie with the PG-13 rating from the MPAA. This latest entry from Shout! Factory’s new Shout Select line arrives on a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray on March 14th and is a must have. Wolverines!!!

Distributor: Shout Select

Run Time: 114 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: This Blu-ray release includes hours of bonus material. There’s an all-new feature length retrospective with some of the cast and crew plus four making of featurettes and theatrical trailer imported over from previous home video releases.

  • NEW “A Look Back At Red Dawn” – A 70 Minute Feature Including Brand-New Stories From Co-Star Doug Toby, Casting Director Jane Jenkins, Production Designer Jackson DeGovia And Editor Thom Noble
  • Archival Featurette: “Red Dawn Rising” (23:02)
  • Archival Featurette: “Training For WWIII” (09:49)
  • Archival Featurette: “Building The Red Menace” (09:37)
  • Archival Featurette: “WWIII Comes To Town” (13:27)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (02:29)



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