GENRE: Urban war drama
THE PITCH: An emo-fueled remake of the original. Matt Eckert (Josh Peck), the moody high school quarterback is at war with his brother Jed (Chris Hemsworth), a soldier home on leave from Iraq. Their domestic squabbles are reluctantly tabled when North Korean soldiers invade their Spokane, Wash. suburb. The Eckerts along with other teens fight to take back their town.
MONEY SHOT: The initial invasion. Starting as a stereotypical rumbling snow globe shot, it escalates into a full on WWII-styled Normandy invasion with the skies flooded with bombers and paratroopers. The soldiers touch down and quickly... and I mean quickly secure the area. The Eckerts jump into their truck, picking up kids along the way, bobbing and weaving through yards, streets and fields trying to make it to their family's cabin in the mountains.
BEST LINE: While engaging in some guerilla tactics, Robert (Josh Hutcherson) and his best friend Daryl (Connor Cruise) hide in a busy Subway sandwich shop. Seizing the opportunity to grab some grub for the Wolverines, Daryl jumps on the counter and demands, "Sandwich artist, fill this shit with bread!"
SET 'EM OFF: In the original film Papa Eckert (Harry Dean Stanton) sets his sons on the warrior path while on the firing line yelling, "Avenge me!" In this version, daddy Eckert has a name, Tom (Brett Cullen) and is taken along with the mayor (Michael Beach) up to the cabin to ferret out the kids. Instead of saying the classic line, he says, "I want you to go to war and send this piece of shit to Hell or die trying!" Meh ... same effect, more words.
GET REAL: During a quiet moment around the campfire, the kids reminisce about things they miss. Daryl says "I miss Call of Duty: Modern Warfare." Robert looks confused and says, "Dude, you're living it."
WHAT THE HELL IS A 'MOTARD?' When the Marine vets Tanner (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Hodge (Matt Gerald), and Smith (Kenneth Choi) show up, you hear 'Motard' a lot. According to the Urban Dictionary website: This word is used to describe some overbearing marine who extremely loud and obnoxious all the time. He is so motivated even in the shittiest situations that everyone wants to kick him in the teeth.
KILL FACTOR: Number of Americans killed by invaders, six by gunfire, three by other means. Number of Koreans killed by the Wolverines - 18 by gunfire, tens of them (somewhere between 40-50) by other guerilla means.
BRINGING THE BOOM: As action packed as it is, expect only five explosions, and four crashes.
FLASHBACKS: Fans of the original film should look out for a few iconic scenes that make their way into this version. Since noobs will consider these spoilers, highlight over the white space to continue. (start) The deer hunt, the foxhole ambush, the firing squad, Daryl's betrayal , Robert's big assault, and An Eckert brother down. (end)
BOTTOM LINE: Taking Kevin Reynolds original screenplay and transforming it into a relevant, teen-centric war film couldn't have been easy and it shows in this uninspired remake. The theme of the American spirit gets drowned in syrupy character conflicts between brothers, love interests and personal loss. The maturation of the 1984 Wolverines shouldered the burdens of friendship, family, patriotism and even love in times of war far better than their 2012 counterparts. This sloppy emotional soup writers Carl Ellsworth and Jeremy Passmore present is heavy on the Eckerts' dysfunctional household and unfortunately weighs down the momentum of the film. Fans of the original (like myself) will be offended by this desecration, but first-timers will probably tolerate the urban street fights and "ain't it cool" motif director Dan Bradley captures in this so-so film.