In MGM’s long-delayed remake of “Red Dawn”, the villains are the Chinese, replacing the Russians of the ’80s original. Which makes sense. They’re huge — population-wise, economics-wise, and military-wise. Who else would have the stones (and the resources) to invade the good ol USA but the Chinese?
Unless, of course, you’re trying to sell the remake to Asia (and specifically the 1.3 billion potential Chinese moviegoers), in which case, uh, the North Koreans make more sense as villains. Wait, what? How could a country that can barely keep its lights on at night launch a full-scale (and apparently successful) invasion of the United States of America? Um, super secret North Korean kung fu?
Not quite, but that’s the word from the LATimes, who reports that because MGM doesn’t want to piss off our Chinese overlords (er, I mean, the Chinese Government), they’ve now gone back and digitally erased all signs and symbols of Chinese presence in the invasion. Likewise, original dialogue that pointed to the invaders being Chinese have now been altered to point fingers at the North Koreans instead.
So what does all this mean?
People close to the picture said the changes will cost less than $1 million and involve changing an opening sequence summarizing the story’s fictional backdrop, re-editing two scenes and using digital technology to transform many Chinese symbols to Korean. It’s impossible to eliminate all references to China, the people said, though the changes will give North Korea a much larger role in the coalition that invades the U.S.
“We were initially very reluctant to make any changes,” said Tripp Vinson, one of the movie’s producers. “But after careful consideration we constructed a way to make a scarier, smarter and more dangerous ‘Red Dawn’ that we believe improves the movie.”
On the one hand, I admire Vinson and MGM for realizing they’re in the business of making money, so they’re hedging their bets as much as possible given how huge a market China has become, even though China hasn’t actually said a word to them on the subject matter. Although they’ve easily made their “displeasure” known in the past. On the other hand, it must be hard to walk around without balls.
Then again, the whole thing could be moot. Word is, MGM is having a hell of a time getting someone to distribute the movie, which may mean it could very well end up as one heck of an expensive direct-to-DVD movie. Or it could be locked away in a vault somewhere. The latter option might be for the best. Who wants to see a neutered movie, anyway? At this point, it’ll just be sad.
The film was directed by Dan Bradley, who is making his feature film debut. I’m really curious to hear what he says about this, but so far, he’s keeping quiet.
So does this mean the Chinese REALLY does want to be our friends?