The United States was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1984 -- at least in John Milius' Red Dawn. The remake of the war film is due out later this year, but since the Soviet Union no longer exists the conquering force has been changed to a coalition of the Russians and the Chinese. This has one of China's state-run newspapers up in arms. Fan-made posters for the film aren't helping the cause either. Images released online show a cracked red, white and blue U.S. map stamped with the People's Liberation Army star and the slogan, "Rebuilding Your Reputation."
Chinese newspaper headlines read "U.S. Reshoots Cold War Movie to Demonize China," and "American Movie Plants Hostile Seeds Against China," which goes to prove that secretary of state Hilary Clinton's recent visit to strengthen relations didn't do much to dissuade suspicion and fear. An excerpt from the Global Times had this to say on the subject: "Despite the world's focus on U.S.-China relations in the strategic and economic dialogue and their increasing economic connections, China can still feel U.S. distrust and fear, especially among its people. Americans' suspicions about China are the best ground for the hawks to disseminate fear and doubt, which is the biggest concern with the movie Red Dawn."
What seems particularly interesting about this is that I see China's point on some levels. Placing them in a villain's role isn't quite the same as using the Soviets back in the day. The Soviets were the enemy, while the Chinese-U.S. relationship is very different. However, the Chinese commentators apparently believe all American audiences are ignorant and incapable of differentiating between reality and fiction. I doubt many people will walk out of a Red Dawn remake thinking they've just viewed a documentary or a prophetic film about the imminent future and ready to take up arms.
This whole story becomes even more bizarre when you stop and realize that they're outraged over a remake of Red Dawn. The 1984 original is certainly a cheesy cult classic, but a remake -- starring Tom Cruise's son Connor and due out later this year -- isn't guaranteed to reach even that status. Truthfully, if China should be mad about anything, they should complain that the chief villain, Captain Lo, is played by Will Yun-Lee -- a Korean actor.
What do you think? Is this much ado about nothing or does China have a point? And how happy are the suits at MGM to be getting all this free publicity? Hit the comments section and tell us what you think.
[via ABC News]