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Movie Mom

The Real Problem With Movie Bad Guys — Soviet to Chinese to Korean in “Red Dawn”

posted by Nell Minow

The 1984 version of “Red Dawn,” starring Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen, had a high school football team defending their town from Communist invading forces.  The bad guys were a reflection of the Reagan era: the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

But times have changed.  The people behind the remake of “Red Dawn” were faced with the same problem as the producers of the 1940’s radio program “The Green Hornet” who switched the sidekick Kato from Japanese to Korean to Filipino depending on geopolitical events and shifting alliances.  Kato was Chinese in the most recent movie version.

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The Soviet Union ended in 1991.  So, who should be the invaders in the remake?  China seemed like a good bet when they shot the film, three years ago (before Chris Hemsworth was Thor and Josh Hutcherson was Peeta).  But then the movie’s release was held up because MGM went into bankruptcy.  The new distributors realized that China is a very big market for movies — at least for movies that don’t make the Chinese the bad guys.  So, they redubbed the dialog and digitally altered the uniforms and insignias of the invading forces to make them North Korean.

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