It's easy to take most films' war-torn elsewheres for granted, and taken on its own merits, Red Dawn is a victory of small battles and heavy artillery, sentimental but rarely too hackneyed, energetic without becoming too silly.
Despite the considerable impediment of a premise arguably even sillier than that of the original "Red Dawn," helmer Dan Bradley's long-delayed remake of John Milius' 1984 kids-vs.-Commies adventure delivers enough thrilling action sequences and rock-'em, sock-'em fantasy-fulfillment to amp its B.O. potential.
The Hollywood Reporter
This version is unlikely to strike a similar chord with young audiences while severely disappointing older fans of the original.
Many of the original film's booby-trap scenarios are repeated here, but without Milius' grandiosity and nihilism. There's less of both in the new Red Dawn. It's not a disaster. It's just drab.
A new Red Dawn could have been so much more fun had it thrown a properly out-of-bounds tea party. (It lacks the signature brawn of original director John Milius, a guns-first libertarian.)
Single-mindedly action-oriented to the point where Milius's film seems relatively ruminative.
The New York Times
In his debut the director, Dan Bradley, a stunt coordinator with a long list of credits, handles the low-fi action well, which helps divert attention from the bargain-bin special effects, bad acting and politics.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
This world is divided between the makers and the takers, and after just a few minutes of Red Dawn, you'll realize there's not much more you can take.
San Francisco Chronicle
Unfortunately, the characters are so programmatic, the premise so ridiculous and the situations so far-fetched even if you accept that premise that no energy can be built, and the little that's there can't be sustained. Red Dawn is a vigorous but pointless exercise.
It feeds the warrior fantasies of adolescent boys with a testosterone-heavy tale of a war free of moral complications.