It's an interesting experience to watch director John Milius' jingoistic teen war movie Red Dawn in 2017. The last time I watched the movie was in 2012, under a different administration and what feels like in a different world. I'm not going to get super political here, but watching a film about citizens militarizing and conflict with Russia is another thing entirely. Maybe it's closer to how it felt to see the movie when it was originally released in 1984. Whatever the case, the film played better for me now than it did just four years ago
Previously available on Blu-ray from MGM, Red Dawn gets an upgrade courtesy of Shout! Factory's Shout Select line. I don't have the original HD version so I can't do a side by side comparison, but nowhere on the disc jacket is there a mention of any new 2K or 4K scan (which has become regular practice on these Shout! Factory upgrades), which leads me to believe this is the same HD master that was previously released. The movie looks very good, though, so I'm not complaining.
The comparisons to the original MGM release don't end there; a handful of archival featurettes have been ported over to this new Shout Select version and make up the majority of the supplements. The only new bonus feature is a 70-minute retrospective documentary called "A Look Back at Red Dawn," featuring new interviews with Doug Toby (who plays Aardvark), casting director Jane Jenkins, production designer Jackson DeGovia and editor Thom Noble. It's an interesting piece, but I do wish that a few other cast and crew had been interviewed to paint a broader picture of the movie's production and its place in film history. I recognize that would have difficult, however, with the passing of star Patrick Swayze, the declining health of director John Milius and the declining sanity of Charlie Sheen.
Blu-ray release date: March 14, 2017
DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
Subtitles: English (SDH)
Blu-ray Bonus Features:
"A Look Back at Red Dawn" Documentary
Archival Featurettes: "Red Dawn Rising," "Training for WWIII," "Building the Red Menace," "WWIII Comes to Town"