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Red Dawn Remake – Our Review and Reflections

August 4, 2012

Last summer, Racebending.com staffers attended a promotional screening for MGM’s remake of the film Red Dawn. Now that the Red Dawn trailer has been released in theaters, we’re posting our review. This review is going to be based on the version of the film we saw in summer 2011.

Red Dawn (2012) is a remake of the film by the same name released in 1984 during the Cold War. In the original film, the Soviet Union, Cubans, and Nicaraguans invade American soil. A group of American high school students, calling themselves the “Wolverines” (their high school mascot) resist the Soviet-led occupation using guerilla warfare tactics. The plot of Red Dawn (2012) is similar, but this time the invaders are “North Korean.”

The version of the film we got to see looked finalized, but again, we saw this film over a year before it’s planned release, back in summer 2011. Ostensibly, this screening was held to gauge whether audiences would be receptive to changes that the studio made to preemptively appease investors in China. Using CGI, the film’s Chinese invasion was changed to be a North Korean invasion. To the filmmakers, the Chinese and North Koreans were interchangable.


Set images from when the film was still about Chinese invaders

As far as we could tell from the version we were screened, the transition from Chinese villains to North Korean villains was complete. The lines spoken by Korean American actor Will Yun Lee’s Chinese villain, General Lo, were dubbed over from Mandarin to Korean. The expository prologue had been seemingly edited to explain a North Korean invasion, and signs and flags were changed from PRC to DPRK.

How was the movie? Well, the good news is that, Red Dawn has more Asian faces and Asian American actors in it than any other film coming out this Thanksgiving weekend. They’re just depicting yellow peril invaders! (Hooray?)

It seemed that most people at our screening were enjoying themselves, cheering and whooping for our country, America. (Loud cheers during the scene where the reporter says that the blue states have all surrendered and the red state gun owners are the only ones left to resist the North Korean invasion.) Other people at the screening took to Twitter, upset at how characters of color were treated in the film.

Likely because the depiction of characters of color in this film is godawful.

The main character of the film is Matt Eckert, a white all-American football player played woodenly by a doleful Josh Peck. His older brother, Jed, is a second Gulf War veteran played by white Australian actor Chris Hemmsworth (now famous for his leading role in Marvel’s Thor). After seeing their father senselessly executed by General Lo (Will Yun Lee), the two brothers and their friends hide out in the woods, learn how to fight back in a montage sequence, and begin to take on the invaders head on.

Charitably, the film includes characters of color as residents of Spokane, including the father of Connor Cruise’s character, Daryl: the city’s mayor is portrayed by an actor of color, Michael Beach The mayor is depicted as wimping out and traitorously appeasing the North Korean invaders. In addition to the brothers’ classmates/friends, the group is joined by two out-of-towner siblings, Julie (Alyssa Diaz) and Greg (Julian Alcaraz). Yay…diversity?


The Wolverines of the Red Dawn remake

Except, uh…All of the Wolverines of color die except for one. (And even that is left kind of nebulous because he is left by the others to die alone due to his own careless stupidity, even though white characters are equally careless and never face that consequence.) Contrast that to how all of the white Wolverines survive to the end of the film, except for one, even though the group started out with more white characters than characters of color. The problem with this film is that although characters of color share the screen with characters who are white, they are never depicted as equally as competent or equally as important as the white characters.

The two women characters who are white double as love interests for the two brothers. Characters of color are not depicted as romantic and one even dies while rescuing the white male lead’s love interest for the sake of teaching the white dude a Very Important Lesson about leadership and sacrifice. The first Wolverine to die is, of course, a character of color.

The white characters and characters of color are put in equally dangerous situations. It’s just that the story bullets just happen to hit brown kids, and the character development lines just happen to go to the white kids. (Cue white kids sad about dead brown kids–builds character!–and then quickly getting over it. In contrast, the death of the one white character is designed to propel character development of other white characters, and move the audience in a way that the death of the cannon fodder characters of color do not.)

The foreign invaders are played by American actors, while two of the focal American heroes are depicted by Australians.


The latest publicity still release from Red Dawn features three of the film’s lead characters, played by Josh Peck, Josh Hutchinson, and Chris Hemmsworth.

One rousing sentiment from the Wolverines is this universalized concept that modern Americans have “inherited our freedoms” and now must fight for those freedoms since America is under attack. Watching the film, there’s this sinking realization that when the film is talking about America, they aren’t referring to people in America who are already fighting for freedoms and have had to actively continue to fight for them. During a speech explaining a difference between real Americans and the Asian invaders, one of the white male leads says, “To them this is just a place, but to us, THIS IS OUR HOME.” (Meanwhile, somewhere invisible, the people of the Spokan tribe in this fictional story makes sad faces. I guess it is asking too much for reflection on how what is happening to the white heroes of Spokane was perpetrated on the Native Americans who called Spokane home, by the homesteader ancestors of the white heroes.)

But that is what Red Dawn depicts–a weird historical reversal–and it is just so damn awkward. The white heroes of Washington State are upset that their land–their home–is being taken over by invaders. And the contrast to the actual history of Asians in Washington State is also quite stark.

In Red Dawn, Washington patriots must defend their home by driving out Asian invaders– an unrealistic scenario that has never occurred in history. The historic scenario was essentially the exact opposite: The citizens of Washington, driven by racism, invaded and burned down entire Asian American communities and drove Asian Americans from their homes and out of the State, forcing them onto trains to Oregon.



Anti-Chinese riots as illustrated in Harper’s Weekly, Seattle, 1886

In the late 1800s, discrimination against Asians in Washington State was particularly pronounced; there were more than 150 documented mob attacks against Chinese communities and settlers throughout North America. (This ethnic cleansing tactic, practiced in places including Los Angeles and Seattle, was dubbed “The Tacoma Method” after the Tacoma Riot of 1885 that inspired anti-Chinatown lynching movements across the Pacific Coast.)

So it’s more than a little ironic to have a film set in Washington State depicting Asian people oppressing white Washington State residents (and their people of color friends/acquaintances.)

It’s also weird that although the Red Dawn remake is set in Spokane, WA and depicts African American residents of Spokane, it doesn’t depict any Asian or Latino Spokane residents (there are more Latinos and Asians in Spokane than African Americans, so you’d think they’d be impacted, too…) The State of Washington is pretty diverse and has a long Asian American history. Washington State also boasts the first governor of a state in the Continental United States of Asian descent, and the only Chinese American in history to serve as a governor– Governor Gary Locke, a third generation Chinese American who served two terms between 1997 and 2004. (Locke is now the U.S. Ambassador to China under the Obama administration.) Seven percent of Washington is Asian American.

The film is framed in non-Asian versus Asian terms, with the exception of a US Marine side character, played by Kenneth Choi, who tells the heroes that he is from San Diego and does some Korean translation for the group. The character’s name is “Smith,” uh, because he is the sole Asian good guy? (Choi played a similar role in Captain America: The First Avenger, except that time his Asian American soldier was from Fresno. Also, that scene was set in the 1940s, not the 2010s.)

[There were plans during the beginning of production to include a Chinese American Wolverine, Erica Yu, "the 17-year-old knockout Asian American captain of the cheerleading squad." She would have been the Asian American love interest of the white male lead (a damsel in distress character that was ultimately played by white Australian actress Isabel Lucas.) Apparently, earlier drafts included a plot point where Asian Americans residents of Spokane were placed in internment camps.]

We had heard a rumor from a source who had worked on the film remake that the production had difficulty finding extras to depict the Chinese invaders, to the point where people working on the production got so desperate for Asian faces that they asked their Asian American friends who did not work in the movie industry if they were interested in being in the movie. That’s understandable, since there’s more than a whiff of “yellow peril” and “perpetual foreigner” in the film, reinforcing some of the negative stereotypes that affect Asian Americans today. For example, a 2009 survey of the “general population” of the United States found that 45% of Americans believe Asian Americans are more loyal to their countries of ancestry than to the U.S., up from 37% in the 2001 survey and 20% believe Asian Americans do not care what happens to anyone but their own kind. This is worrisome because at least 28% of the general population of the United States reports rarely or never interacting with Asian Americans–so there are no real life interactions to counter the stereotypes presented Red Dawn (2012).

The original Red Dawn included scenes that somewhat humanize the Soviet invaders (at least there are scenes shown where they talk about their families and display a sense of humor.) The heroes in the original film have scenes where they reflect on whether or not they are so different from the invaders they are fighting, asking “what’s the difference between us and them?” as they work to protect their moral identities while protecting American soil. A villain in the original film, Colonel Bella, also recognizes commonalities between the two opposing sides (in response to the American youth’s guerrilla tactics, he says “I have seen this before. But these are my men!”)

This is not the case in Red Dawn: Yellow Peril Edition, where the Korean née Chinese soldiers are depicted more like the Nazis in the Indiana Jones movies. They remain mostly faceless and interchangable except for the actor depicting the inscrutable lead villain, and the heroes never question whether they might be falling into a moral grey area. The remake simply isn’t as reflective s the original film; it instead bludgeons the audience with jingoistic moral simplicity.

So, uh, the Red Dawn remake in a nutshell: If you are brown, and North Korea ever invades, and your white friends decide to launch a guerrilla resistance movement, DO NOT JOIN THEM. They will get you killed. Because the Red Dawn remake really manages to off every single brown kid in the movie.

EDIT: Since this article was written, the poster for Red Dawn has been released. It features the Wolverine heroes of the film, and of course, the only Wolverines depicted on the poster are white.

Categories: blog, Featured, History and Concepts

About the Author

Marissa Lee is one of the co-founders of Racebending.com

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  • http://twitter.com/DJMisterVee Mike Vo

    Thanks for the column, Marissa! I wasn’t planning to see this film anyway. And now I am re-assured that I’m not missing anything interesting.

  • Andre

    Interesting, well I guess I definitely won’t be seeing this film in cinema. And would anybody here have a grudge against me when I say that it is no surprise at all to see that an American movie glorifies it’s own racism and blood-thirstyness?

  • happyappa

    I knew this movie would be garbage, but I didn’t know it would be this bad.

    “The foreign invaders are played by American actors, while two of the focal American heroes are depicted by Australians.” lol
    Also I like that the IMDB page still lists the soldiers, etc. as Chinese and not North Korean. They didn’t even bother to change it — I don’t know who is supposed to edit the pages.

    Funny that production was so desperate to cast Asians as extras (but I am upset they accepted the roles), when casting is constantly using excuses like diversity and colorblindness where the main roles are concerned. Gee, I wonder why they didn’t do yellowface or follow the colorblind route (cast different races) when casting the North Korean characters (esp. extras), when it is so often done with main parts.

    I want to see a movie about the anti-Chinese riots with Chinese as the protagonists and played by Chinese people.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KDICKBONRNKMR46Q6GEWPQUD64 edc_74

      I think that is a subtle but important point. The changing of the perceived enemy from China to North Korea was meant to quell the concerns of the Chinese. Americans (non-Asian at least) did not care who the enemy was but understood them to be ‘Asian’. Whether it was China or North Korea, movie goers for the most part will still be swayed by the portrayal of the ‘Evil Asian’ archetype. However, it could have been worse by having a bunch of Asian-American female supporting characters who had a blood lust against the North Koreans.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JB5KN2YLQIRQ7CXPSFB7EIWC3M Jesse K

        Honestly, and I don’t mean to sound condescending, but the kind of person that is going to see this movie A) doesn’t know enough about anything to realize how insane it is, esp the N. Korean plot-line B) is just an action fan and is willing to suspend belief. People like us who think about these things aren’t really the target audience, which is fine, just the truth.

  • happyappa

    Sorry, I should also clarify that I’d want the protagonists NOT to be the villains, because that would basically be like this movie (making Asians evil).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3L2VMEJK5Y67V6PQUYFGCBDUTE George

    Blah blah blah racism.

    Seriously, why is everything about race? I’m a Chinese-American and I was absolutely pumped to see this movie. You DO realize that the Chinese gov’t itself did FAR WORSE to its own people than the US gov’t has ever done. Or do you think the Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, and Tiananmen Square Massacres never happened?

    When they changed it to North Koreans, though, I lost interest. I wanted to finally see the Chinese gov’t get their asses handed to them, but nope, they wanted to keep on its good side. Seriously, what’s wrong? The Dark Knight was banned in China for depicting a corrupt Chinese banker working with the corrupt police force (which is the case in real life, mind you), but still made over $1 billion.

    Bottom line: They should’ve kept the original, and you should stop yapping about race, especially if you use that in defense of the biggest killer of Asians in human history, the Chinese Communist Party, and its military wing, the PLA.

    • happyappa

      “Why is everything about race?” Maybe you should ask the filmmakers who decided to have no Asians (East Asians) on the American side, and all the enemies as such. I do agree that the Chinese government is not innocent, but are you saying that it’s okay what the US government did because it wasn’t “as bad”?

      How many times do we need to see yellow peril in a movie, especially an American one? As an Asian-American, I was angry that not only did the makers seem to think that all Asians are the same, but also it’s the same old Asians are evil — the “others” — story.

      It’s not even all about the Chinese, or North Koreans in this case. Are you also ignoring the fact that all of the pocs got killed off at the end of the movie? Disposable decorations, there to act as the driving force for the white characters, who for the most part, survive in the end as the “true” American heroes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Hudathan David Chen

      Not everything is about race, but racist movies are.

    • Mami

      As a Japanese-American, I already get ENOUGH of the ‘Japanese people are bad’ stereotypes, and I don’t want anymore god damn depictions of ‘Evil Asians’ from Hollywood in their movies. Period. And when they depict us like this, it affects ME.

    • F

      You are on a site called racebending, what did you expect. :|

      Also, two wrongs don’t make a right. I’m Chinese-American, and both of my parents’ families were personally devastated by the cultural revolution. Does that mean I want to see a movie where Asians are villainized and white people are the heroes that kill them? Hell no. That’s some weird twisted thinking you’ve got there.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Souter/1252531268 Brian Souter

      im glad to see 26 people vote down this wretched rant…US uses Hollywood to brand its enemies as threats. Now its DPRKs turn…note that Red Dawn targets those attacks BY the US from soviet russia to cuba and nicaragua now DPRK

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KDICKBONRNKMR46Q6GEWPQUD64 edc_74

      I was going to respond to you useless post but you’ve been adequately pwned already. But I wanted to ask you about your statement…

      “The Dark Knight was banned in China for depicting a corrupt Chinese banker working with the corrupt police force (which is the case in real life, mind you)”

      Where do you live, where Batman is fighting against corrupt Chinese bankers and the corrupt police force? It sound very exciting in your wold

    • Brandi

      yeah I believe you’re Chinese. okay. sure.

    • Nilanjan Bera

      you are not a chinesse-american….u don’t know anything except propagandas…this movie is not completely baseless,it has some point..but in that case america invade in asian countrys…

  • crazy MMer

    BOYCOTT!

  • V

    Not. Surprised. At. All! *smh*

  • T.Chicken

    Well, we still got the same premise of Red Dawn Remake in Homefront game (North Korea invade US and resistance have Drones) but unlike Reddawn
    Spoiler:
    Your resistance do not Lynch asians, like many crazed survivalist groups.

  • Herpaderpderp

    You have a point about everything except China and North Korea being interchangeable, and the reason is this; you know how an American can play and English man, and an Englishman can play a Frenchman, and a German can play a Scotsman, and an Nth generation Sino-American can play any number of mainland Chinese dudes? Same principle. If you’re lucky enough to fit the phenotype, there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be allowed to gun for that shit. As long as you can do an accent.

    Although the apparent interchangeability of two divergent cultures is still pretty worrying. It’s not even as if their political parties are that similar, given NK’s complete lack of money. On the plus side, that does mean there are gonna be a lot of people boycotting this populist shit.

  • erlgirl_9

    This makes me want to barf.

  • docket

    All this is nothing but propaganda. I mean it would be better if they made the movie inta Neo -civil war flick starting just POC

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  • http://mrcab666.livejournal.com/ MRCAB

    It honestly didn’t take much for me not to want to see this movie. From the start it sounded like it was going to suck in the “Hollywood” department. You’d think they’d have thrown in some Asian-American, token heroes, at least. :-p

  • ben

    Do they have a detailed alternate reality setup like in the original Red Dawn to make an American invasion plausible? Because racism aside this version of Red Dawn is an assault on human intelligence: North Korea has a snowballs chance in hell of invading the USA!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Souter/1252531268 Brian Souter

      the goal is to brand DPRK as a threat to the US and so justify an invasion BY the US…its pure propaganda

      • Anonymous

        Ok…look. I totally agree with the article here, but as usual someone in the comments takes it over the top. Where do you get this ridiculous conspiracy notion? Consider that you are accusing this pathetic film of being a part of an invasion justifying propaganda film that would require the US govt backing the project and knowingly saying to a filmmaker…”Hey, you know…if we can just get your help in putting out a film that villifies the DPRK just a bit more I think we will have enough angst and fear in the population to launch an attack. What’d say about a Red Dawn remake to that end?” As if almost enough America people what to attack North Korea, but if we could just sway a few more voices….

        Seriously…do you really think that’s what’s going on here? Maybe you’re being sarcastic, because certainly you couldn’t seriously stretch your imagination to think that’s what’s really going on here. Nope…it’s just a crappy remake of a crappy jingoistic film.

  • E.Reed

    A remake of this movie feeds into the growing number of hate crimes against people in America who are considered “other” “foreign” and “a threat” because of their physical appearance.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JB5KN2YLQIRQ7CXPSFB7EIWC3M Jesse K

      That’s insane thinking. This movie, which looks atrocious btw, is no more responsible for hate crimes than Marilyn Manson was for Columbine or video games are for inner-city violence. I’m a psychiatric medicine resident, trust me, people that are going to commit hate crimes don’t need a Hollywood action flick to influence their decisions haha.

      • Brandi

        or maybe it’s the other way around

      • dar

        I would think that a psychiatric medicine resident would use more tactful language than “That’s insane thinking”.

        And please go take a look at twitter, search for this movie title, and read the reactions from viewers saying that this movie has made them feel like they hate all Asians, that Asians are now suspicious and terrifying, that making Asian friends after watching this will be difficult, that they “kinda wanna go out and kill some Asians now”, etc. Media has the power to influence the way people think. That’s just a fact.

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  • Kraut007

    Wow, that´s really bad bullshit, even for Hollywood.
    The producers want tho show heroic Americans fighting against evil Asians, but in real life they tuck their tails in, against the mighty Chinese economy.
    North Korea invades the USA? Sure, when the Principalty of Liechtenstein conquers all of Europe!
    I will not waste one single cent for this dumb, stinking piece of racism.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JB5KN2YLQIRQ7CXPSFB7EIWC3M Jesse K

      Haha North Korea doesn’t even have the resources to power it’s capital overnight, nevermind invade a world super-power half way across the globe

      • Brandi

        no facts/history allowed

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Souter/1252531268 Brian Souter

    Hi Nice blog on an important topic..
    I just want to comment on Red Dawn…a remake of a cold war propaganda film that inverts history by having the US invaded by soviets cuba ad nicaragua…three countries then under attack BY the US, and the film was branding these three as enemies in the minds of the film viewing public ..The new film has a new enemy: DPRK (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea..not ‘North Korea’)…the DPRK is now under attack BY the US in many ways….militarily, economically and here thru entertainment. So any asian american actors who choose roles in this movie are only confirming the racist view of Hollywood filmmakers and execs..they are useful to provide villains to brainwash the american public….Will the actors be rewarded with roles in non-propagada films? fraid not.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JB5KN2YLQIRQ7CXPSFB7EIWC3M Jesse K

      Brian, how is DPRK under attack by the US militarily?? That’s a serious question I’m not calling you out or anything, I just never really heard that. Regardless of how you feel about US treatment of DPRK, you have to admit they’re like the schizophrenic on mushrooms in the corner of the party and as much as you’d like to treat them like everyone else you really just can’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Souter/1252531268 Brian Souter

    people who think of going to see Red Dawn propaghanda film may like to revisit as classic by John Carpenter: They Live:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJC4R1uXDaE

    now remade as Branded
    and see that fiction can be the truth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Conrad-Szumilas/784322003 Conrad Szumilas

    I…am just really bewildered that this movie even got made. For a couple of reasons. Like first of all, back when it was China, you’d think that one of their first goals was to make this an ideological war and NOT a race war. Maybe have some prominent Asian American characters in strong, supporting roles (lead roles would be too outlandish!) Second, while China would have actually made antagonist as we owe them 40 metric shit-tons of money and they’re succeeding in places where we’re failing, that’s also the reason for the embarrassing switch to North Korea…a country run by it’s current dictator’s grandfather’s ghost! How freaking bad did things get for Obama’s America that this happened? It’s like they took the pages out of Rush Limbaugh’s dream journal.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JB5KN2YLQIRQ7CXPSFB7EIWC3M Jesse K

      Haha I lol’d at the dream journal comment. Good point though, not only did this movie look terrible from the get-go but the N. Korea thing is so absurd.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Conrad-Szumilas/784322003 Conrad Szumilas

    Hiring Austrailian Chris Hemsworth to play Captain America-Lite was a nice touch. :P

    • Guest

      Thor. He played Thor. The guy that played the Cap is an American dude.

      • happyappa

        Maybe the person was referring to “Captain America-Lite” as Hemsorth’s character in Red Dawn, hence “lite”. Since he is Australian but he is the big main “American” character here.

  • socal

    What do 2012 Los Angeles and 1940s Alabama have in common? A little more than I thought.

  • http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-detroit/dan-poole Dan Poole

    I’m very much looking forward to this movie after reading your review of it. And I’m proud that well-known actors like Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson decided to star in it. America needs a refreshing film like this!

    • mittu

      Lol, Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutchinson weren’t even blips on the Hollywood radar when this was filmed in 2009. I suppose after MGM went bankrupt they were able to find a distributor at “just the right time.” Post Thor and The Hunger Games which propelled their careers.

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  • white guy

    It’s a movie, and meant to be fun, and maybe it reflects the original. Don’t see it if you think it’s soo bad. Sure, Hollywood is biased at times, and maybe you don’t like that, but get a life. Don’t bother arguing with me I won’t be coming back to this website. I mean really, who has the time.

    • happyappa

      Nothing like a white guy saying how trivial racism is and how it’s just a movie. Hey, we’re all a little biased right, so no big deal Hollywood. Did you ‘hear’ that? poc discrimination is nothing serious, better go get a life.

      “I won’t be coming back to this website. I mean really, who has the time.”
      You had the time to actually type in this address, go to this article, and write a paragraph about it, so…

    • Brandi

      white guy has stopped racism! he’s figured it out! let’s pack it up everybody.

  • twinkaspie

    You know what’s sad? The three male (white) leads of this film are generally excellent actors, and good people (from what I can tell). I hate it when actors I love either get tricked into making stupid movies or somehow decide that it’s still worth it to make.

    As a passing curiosity, though, would it really be better if there were more Asians cast, or wouldn’t that be opening a whole new can of racism?

    • Steph

      Yeah, you can’t blame any of the actors in this film. They’re just trying to work and grow a career in probably the World’s most competitive industry.

      It’s not about hiring more Asians. It’s about this film in general ie The Yellow Peril

      I’m sure the Asian actors had issues taking the role. Racism against hiring Asians is obvious and has even been expressed in Hollywood so you can’t blame Asian Actors for taking the roles. It probably sucks that the only time they get to “act” is in negative or one-dimensional roles.

      • http://nowisgreater.tumblr.com Travis

        I do judge the white actors and very much so. Especially people like Chris Hemsworth, who are not struggling actors just trying to get a foot in the door.

  • Iwishuweresmart

    I am not defending this movie, as I haven’t seen it. What I am doing is asking an honest question–what percentage of villains in Hollywood movies are non-caucasians? I mean, if you couldn’t have ANY non-white villains for fear of offending people, it would be ridiculous. It would also be ridiculous to have no caucasian villains. Clearly there are numerous white villains–I could name a dozen movies off the top of my head that have white Nazis as the villains: Indiana Jones movies, Rocketeer, Inglourious Basterds, Hellboy I & II, etc. There are also a TON of movies with sinister British villains.

    The obvious goal is to have a fair balance of white and non-white villains, and a fair balance of white and non-white protagonists. I don’t know what the percentages are–any good sites that have done some quality research on this?

    The fact is, if we are making a current movie where a nation invades America, how many of those nations realistically COULD be mainly white? Will the US be invaded by Canada? Australia? The UK? France? Germany? Most caucasian nations are currently our allies.

    • Steph

      Hi there… you raise some interesting points.

      In a perfect World, movies would just be fun and villains would be played by anyone. What frustrates Asian-Americans is their absence as regular Americans in mainstream media. I for one would be happy if there was an equal balance between good and bad characters.

      Asian-Americans in the media are essentially the antithesis to Jewish characters. While Jewish characters are always portrayed in a positive light (even when they are killing Nazis in “Inglorious Basterds”), Asian ones are generally the fool or not someone you’d emulate (exception would be “The Walking Dead”).

      The fact is, if we are making a current movie where a nation invades America there would be several more realistic choices than China or N. Korea. This isn’t about Asian-Americans wanting the enemy to be “white.”

      Asians don’t have a problem with caucasians. At least I don’t. I want to make that clear before someone calls me anti-white or an antisemite. This is about the medias ridiculous perpetuation of the “Yellow Peril.” With all the media bashing, I think many have forgotten that China was part of the allied forces.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JB5KN2YLQIRQ7CXPSFB7EIWC3M Jesse K

    That’s a good point Dillon. I am from one of the most diverse areas of the country (NYC metro) & am mixed myself so sensitive to race issues. At the same time though, I’m sensitive to issues when there ARE issues, and I really don’t see this as one. It’s like how in those ADT commercials every guy is blonde haired blue eyed which is fine for one, but I mean it’s just hilarious that those are the only people you can show committing crimes. Not everything is a racist affront, and while a few things in this movie I’m sure could’ve been done better (like Asians on the US side – although from what I understand there were 1 or 2, though in Spokane 1/2 the group would be Asian haha) it was a re-make of a movie that no longer made sense. No one was complaining when the villains were Russian, you know what I mean??

  • Black Panther

    The writer of this article is a racist. You claim to be from a group that “bends” the racial lines, but I wonder what comments you would have if all the “brown” characters would have lived with the evil whites dieing off? You totally ruin your message of equality as you scream at the evil white people. Rather than uniting, people like you only create greater divisions. I wonder what negetive comments you have on movies like passenger 57 when Wesley snipes says “always bet on black?”. Or every time Martin Lawrence opens his mouth in national security? Oh I forgot, it is ok for any other race other than a white to show any favoritism toward their race, but when the “white people” do it… Well now, that’s just racism. In a nut shell…. Fuck you, racist!

    • Brandi

      child please.

    • Anonymous

      Saids Black Panther

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Hirsch/705840026 Nick Hirsch

      Troll.

  • FelixUngerFU

    Other than the obvious racism involved in this movie I also find it very insulting as a former service memeber that with all the vets and American actors out there, Patrick Swayze’s original role was handed to an Australian. Shame on you Hollywood BOYCOTT!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Prymula/100002817349876 Michael Prymula

    Eh, I don’t really see this as racist at all to be honest, do I hate it when minority characters cheaply get killed off, yeah. But regardless this film still looks like a hell of a lot of fun to me.

  • Venom

    That suburban neighborhoods ” seem to hold more white people than those of “color”” is not by chance. Look up racial steering and redlining.

  • Anonymous

    I am Asian/Hispanic, and the killing of “brown people” is not as offensive to Me as the killing of anyone is. Being outraged over one race being killed over another is foolish.

    Someone once said that if the NK somehow did invade all of the invaders wold stop and give up at the sight of the first Sam’s Club they saw.

  • David Harrison

    Brown Dawn would have been more believable.

  • Anonymous

    If they put in an Asian-American character there could be a great scene in which Chris Hemsworth says he doesn’t trust the Asian-American character. To which the Asian-American character can respond, “Why? Because I’m Asian? I’m not even Korean, you racist idiot.”

    • Anonymous

      That would have required something like imagination, intelligence, sensitivity & taste. Which is why it didn’t happen. Or anything like it. Chris Hemsworth (note the single “m”) must be thanking his lucky stars that “Thor” came out first. (&, oddly enough, there is a scene very similar to what you describe in “Captain America”, which just goes to show you that a *decent* movie about patriotism acknowledges, but refuses to indulge in, racism)

  • Brandi

    atleast critics saw through this crap….11% at rt

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  • mittu

    For the record, Detroit doesn’t have a high Asian population, which is where this movie was filmed. Thus their difficulty with finding Asian extras. But if you want to know a nice little tidbit of behind the scenes info: When filming the happy, light, peaceful scenes in the movie they chose the suburban, “White” neighborhoods to film in, yet the “war zone” scenes were all filmed in the mostly Black populated city of Detroit. The POW camp was shot in one of the most dangerous areas of Detroit’s east side. I’m not even kidding.

  • Min

    Aw what a nice movie to debut on Thanksgiving. To make the English invaders who killed millions of Native Americans feel better by attacking Asians in a fictional film.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Henry-Wong/1719521159 Henry Wong

    I like how people don’t get the point that they made this movie for money, not for purpose.

    • happyappa

      And so it’s still a pos even if they did it for money. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s racist.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/vladnuke Vlad Zavie

    Ok, lemme explain my position.

    I’m Russian.

    Fuck this movie.

    Fuck Call of Duty, every single one.

    The Cold War ended 20 years ago, and here we go again, with this propaganda-filled, flag-humping bullshit, and more big, stupid what-if statements. No one should pay these fuckers a dime. I literally cringed when I heard they were remaking this shit.

    That’s about it, really.

  • siennap

    i hated this the second i saw the trailer.
    have you guys seen the ignorant tweets?
    it’s absolutely disgusting. http://i.imgur.com/vcYuy.png

    • camille

      i hope none of them live near me.. but seriously, are those for real?

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  • Lee

    Found a typo: “The will get you killed” should be “They will get you killed.” Hope this helps. And thanks for the great article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pc812 Perry Constantine

    After watching the trailer, my reaction was, “wow, this looks even dumber than I expected it to be.” And now it seems that it’s taken it a step further. Since its release, there have been lots of jingoistic, racist tweets flying around. Things like this make me ashamed of my country.

  • Mitchell

    I personally think the movie would have been cooler if it was more white trashy and portrayed the antagonists as hillybilly rednecks running over Korean invaders with trucks with lift kits. So 6 or 7 people posted anti asain comments? thats it? I personally thought there would have been more. And as far as the native Americans and asian Americans in Washington, theres no conspiracy here. It’s just a movie designed to generate revenue for Hollywood.

    • happyappa

      “So 6 or 7 people posted anti asain comments? thats it?”
      6 or 7? Can you count? And that was just the recent comments on twitter on a certain day. You seem pretty accepting and tolerant of racists.

      “It’s just a movie designed to generate revenue for Hollywood.”
      A racist movie out for money is still racist

  • Anonymous

    If it’s the group I think you are discussing, that’s because of :Replacement Theology” & yes, the ramifications are pretty evil & dangerous. However, you are wrong in your laying of blame. The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of those who rush to see swill like this. Hollywood NEVER sets trends, but rather follows them, because that’s where the money is. & that’s all Hollywood is about: selling itself.

  • Andre

    I just saw the movie and so this is all fresh:

    Don’t watch it!
    And that has nothing to with the facts mentioned in the article, because the movie hasn’t changed one bit, but with its overall story.
    The heroes are the mighty whitey kids who are better than war veterans successfully fight the big Korean army who is incredibly incompetent. And yes all non-whites of the good guys, except for the token Asian, are either dead or as good as dead. After all, they could have easily had some white guy or any of the white main cast be tagged, but nooooo the last surviving non-white guy is tagged and so he has to go. But I get sidetracked. The speech at the end about fighting and the scenes are… sorry my english is not good enough for that. Lets just say it was cheezy with a capital C.
    If this made people patriotic, than they are incredibly easy to manipulate.The whole stuff is so unrealistic that the whole thing is not just an alternative reality as the director claimed but plain out yellow peril paranoya.

  • Andre

    In my eyes: Even if you are a racist person, this movie is no good. It is the same old stuff: we say that war is bad, but don’t portray it as bad (in comparison the deaths are all pretty clean), a bunch of kids can defeat a big army and America can never be conquered and is the land of the free. That attitude reminds me of a parody where the teacher said to a romanian “We Americans are incredibly tolerant people. Among us everybody can be as he wants as you as you are white, evangelical and punctual.” This is kind of how Red Dawn came along to me.

  • plansmaker

    Stupid & Racist movie from get go…

  • Raiden

    Thank god this film flopped at the box office.

  • xd2

    I’m not sure if you are Chinese or Asian American but as a Chinese I do think we should know better than perpetuating racist sentiments towards other minority groups.

  • Just White not Racist

    come on….have you even seen the original movie. there were no perfect racial scales to be depicted. it is set in small town and the kids were friends….even if Hollywood and pc tv want to make people think that in a small group of people there has to be a black, brown, Asian, redhead….etc. basically this movie was about primarily white kids. not because they are more special just because that it who was cast. would you be happier if they were all black? gee Friends were all white and it was a popular tv show….but you think they should have been one of each colour or add in a new character to add diversity. do we choose our friends because of colour. I have one black friends but no Asian friends ….where can I get one? is tokenism the only type of equality you really think will make movies and subsequently the world a better place? It’s a movie ! it’s a remake.It is intended to entertain and tell a story not designed to make people think people of colour are less. cent you just watch a movie and enjoy without reading craps into it about what colour or race people are….quit counting the coloured people and enjoy….it’s no harder than that to be equal. I didn’t get upset when Will Smith kept saving the world or Morgan Freeman is God! Maybe central characters should be multiracial or better still painted in rainbow stripes…. would that make it better?

    • happyappa

      Your name is hilarious. You must be more concerned about being called a racist.

      “basically this movie was about primarily white kids. not because they are more special just because that it who was cast.”

      Lol, and practically all the pocs die in the end, because that’s just how it is. It was a choice by the filmmakers, just as it was a choice to make the Asians evil and the survivors white. Some of the actors playing Americans aren’t even American, but they’re white. Because white = american apparently.

      “gee Friends were all white”

      And why should it be, if it’s in New York City, a very diverse place — yet it was a deliberate choice to make all the friends white. Ugly Betty did it right, and so did Sherlock Holmes (CBS), which is a REMAKE

      “is tokenism the only type of equality you really think will make movies and subsequently the world a better place?”

      No, because this movie uses pocs as tokens, and it’s not equality, it’s racist.

      “It’s a movie !”

      A racist one, that reflects the racism in society and perpetuates it over and over and influences people’s perceptions, beliefs, etc. It is not just a movie.

      “quit counting the coloured people and enjoy.”
      Easy to say when you are white

      “I didn’t get upset when Will Smith kept saving the world or Morgan Freeman is God!”

      And those are how many roles versus the numerous 3-dimensional white characters who are 99% of the time main characters.

      “Maybe central characters should be multiracial or better still painted in rainbow stripes…. would that make it better?”

      Oh look, another white person who trivializes race and racism by referring to pocs races as stripes and rainbows.

    • http://www.racebending.com Marissa Lee

      Coming to a site called racebending.com to say “It’s just a movie, can’t you just enjoy it without reading crap into it about race” is like going to ESPN.com and telling them “It’s just a game, can’t you just enjoy the game without analyzing the crap out of it?”

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