Red Dawn was roundly criticised in 1984 for being the sort of Reagen era anti-Commie war porn that would only appeal to NRA card-carrying fans of gun-nut director John Milius. Yet viewed from a different decade, there's much to admire in this tale of American teens (Brat Packers led by Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen) fighting a guerilla war against invading Commie troops.
Although Milius fills his story with right-wing concerns (the evils of gun control, the Communist threat to Central America), Red Dawn's image as a gung-ho teen-Rambo fantasy doesn't hold. With reprisals and executions by both sides, there's little to glamorise war here, and while Mel Gibson's The Patriot demonises its enemy as panto villains, Red Dawn's are given depth and humanity. A surprisingly thoughtful and misrepresented film.