Tuesday, 22 March 2011

So, you want us to change the nationality of our film's bad guys entirely? No Problem.

The people behind the Red Dawn remake really are geniuses. They spotted the potentially flawed logic of making China the evil, invading bad guys of their new film, realising that it doesn't necessarily pay to annoy around a billion potential customers in an increasingly lucrative commercial market. Wise reasoning indeed, the only problem being that they came to this decision after the film had actually been made.

So what to do? Scrap the entire project? $75m down the drain is a lot to lose. How about widespread reshoots? Costly, but the only real way to remove all references to China from the film. Or, you can just get it all in post-production like the Red Dawn producers chose to do.

According to the Los Angeles Times the film is having flags, symbols and dialogue digitally altered to turn the Chinese into North Koreans. As the article mentions nothing of any reshoots, we can only assume that the Chinese and Chinese-American actors in the film will miraculously become North Korean. This is hardly surprising - Hollywood seems to have no qualms about pushing the notion that all Asians look vaguely the same (just like people from the Middle-East).

As this Cracked article points out, Hollywood seems to be running out of reliable bad guys faster than you can say "regime change." It seems that the end of the Cold War was the worse thing to happen to action movie producers, which is ironic as so many of their films were about bringing down the Iron Curtain.

North Korea seems to be the frontrunner to become "the new Russia" so to speak, but I still feel uncomfortable about reducing an entire nation of people crushed under a tyrannical regime to a faceless enemy. The first action film to capitalise on the ongoing conflict in Libya will feel my wrath.

Personally, I have no problem with a fictionalised enemy. If I'm watching a film about people defending their American town from an invading foreign force, I'm not going to believe it any more if they're from North Korea, China or the evil Republic of Villainovia. The explosions and the the bullets are all the same. But for some people, the killing just isn't real if it involves those bad guys they've seen on the news. So North Korea it is.

By the way, I'm calling this now: Red Dawn will be the worst film of 2011.

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