Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
‘The Folly’ would have been a better title for this remake of John Millius’ 1984 cult action film. The xenophobic tendencies in the original fueled by Cold War tension, have been taken over by the ludicrous premise of a North Korean invasion.
Apparently, director Dan Bradley had originally shot the flick with the Chinese as arch nemesis, but his higher ups hope to bank on audiences in China, he conveniently switched to the North Koreans (failed missile launch lends a comic air) in post-production.
Before we could even roll our eyes in disbelief at the clichéd montage sequence of various American politicians warning us about cyber terrorism, we are shown that America has become the victim of a surreptitious attack triggered by a breakdown of the nation’s computer grids.
Instead of gunning for strategically important cities, the invading North Korean forces led by the menacing Captain Cho (Will Yung Lee) have set their eyes of all places, on Spokane, a sleepy town.
After playing a Norse God, Liam Hemsworth has to suffer the indignation of acting in this movie
With their town occupied, a motley crew of teenagers weaned on a diet of violent video games, evolve into guerrilla warfare outfit called ‘Wolverines’ (in honor of their high school football team).
Led by Jed (Chris Hemworth), a recently returned Iraq War solider, the usual bunch of teens including the jock, the tech whiz. head cheerleader and mayor’s son toggle in this propulsion fest. With such timeworn characters, most of the performances including debutant Connor Cruise, were insipid. Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s performance as retired marine Colonel Andy Tanner was relatively convincing, but even he seemed to spew dumb one-liners at will. Toni (Adrianne Palicki) and Erica (Isabel Lucas), the main female protagonists, were mostly silent and merely contented showing off their chiseled cheekbones.
To add some emotional thrust to the gratuitous violence, there is unwarranted simmering brotherly drama between Jed and Matt (Josh Peck), the star quarterback and younger brother.
As a former stunt coordinator, director Bradley understands the mechanics of staging action sequences but the rather hurried and jerky hand-held cinematography by Mitchell Amundsen sullies much of the action into tedium. If you are up for typically mindless ‘let’s kill and bomb’em blind’ violence and don’t mind appalling cinematography, this flick won’t offend you.