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Red Dawn Dawning – Can North Korea Invade America?

First actual trailer for Red Dawn and it does have that old Wolverines vibe.

The most obvious problem is the superweapon gimmick. Probably some kind of pulse weapon. If you’re going to have an invasion of the United States you have to go pulse. But turning it into a portable weapon just detracts from whatever realism can be sustained.

The second most obvious problem. North Korea. But more suspension of disbelief is required. Here’s how Homefront, a cousin of sorts to Red Dawn, supposedly written by John Millius, though maybe not, handled that same problem.

Could North Korea invade the United States? Homefront’s opening tries to make a case for it with a North Korean takeover of South Korea and Japan while the US implodes in a massive financial crisis and pulls troops out of Asia. Then bird flu hits America followed by a pulse weapon attack that destroys America’s power grid.

I doubt Red Dawn has spent as much time working out a semi-plausible scenario for all this to take place. Homefront wasn’t that great of a game but it seemed to put more thought into this than Red Dawn is likely to have done.

The only way this can work is if America is falling apart while North Korea is getting its Reich on.

The Dawn of Red Dawn

Red Dawn looks okay except for the ridiculous North Korea thing. They would have been better off making it a nameless country than trying to sell something that stupid. North Korea has a population of 24 million which makes it less than tenth the size of the United States. During WW2 Imperial Japan had more than twice the population.

red dawn cast

It’s like the Breakfast Club… with guns

North Korea does have the world’s 4th largest military and if you go by size alone it doesn’t look completely hopeless, but an invasion of millions means that you need to have the capacity to move something like 300,000 troops into the United States. If you think about how tough moving US troops into Europe was during WW2. And unless the defense grid is neglected for twenty years or the whole thing gets taken out by pulse weapons, the tech difference is just too great.

I could say something about the trailer, but it’s not really a trailer and there’s not much to say about it except that it looks like they’re going for a feel more influenced by Iraq and urban warfare. Also I have no idea if this thing is going to be any good, but I’m glad they’re finally getting around to releasing it.

Is there any reason to be optimistic about the Red Dawn remake?

The Red Dawn script was written by John Milius as in the guy who inspired The Big Leboswki’s… nah just kidding. Despite reports, Milius did not write the script for this or Homefront. The actual Red Dawn script comes from the writer of The Cleaner and the writer of Disturbia, the Last House on the Left remake and Red Eye. It’s probably not the worst resume ever, but meh. (In an unrelated story, what is it with so many Xena writers going on to have major careers?)

So feel free to ignore everything in this post but check out the subversive Breakfast Club style poster of the cast of the original Red Dawn.

Valentine’s Exile by E.E. Knight

I hadn’t read any of the other Vampire Earth books by E.E. Knight before reading Valentine’s Exile but the S.M. Stirling quote on the page prepared me pretty well for what was inside, the Publisher’s Weekly starred review really did not. Valentine’s Exile isn’t bad. It does what it’s supposed to, do a moderately good job of boiling over and reboiling the usual Red Dawn sort of storyline by throwing in just about any bit of loose Scifi and Horror that had been lying around unattended. And so we get aliens, vampires, Dune’s sandworms among others all piled into a regional western framework.

Broken down though, there’s nothing really in Valentine’s Exile that even approaches Heinlein’s The Sixth Column, and I mean that in simple basic storytelling. Heinlein did this kind of novel more than once and long before the present day and he did it intelligently. Valentine’s Exile is military pulp, not as bad as some, but there’s really nothing to set it apart from the Wasteland books published by Harlequin’s Gold Eagle press or any of a dozen other similar lines.

The only real difference and explanation for that Publisher’s Weekly starred review seems to be marketing dollars from Penguin. As bad as something like Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series might be, it was at least marginally different from what most writers, aside from Robert Jordan, were doing. The best word for Valentine’s Exile though is generic. It’s not the work of a complete hack, it’s just redundant, unoriginal and disposable.

Like most of its kind, there’s the militarism, the faint right wing slant, the wholesale borrowing of material without bothering to do anything original with it, except to say dump the sandworm clans in Tennessee. David Valentine is a standard issue hero. Ahn Khan is the standard issue bulky loyal alien sidekick, see Tealc. Duvalier is the only ambigious and something interesting character. And if you couldn’t guess 50 pages in what the women were being transported for, well you’re a little on the slow side.

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