This review originally appeared in the Libertarian Forum, July-August 1984.
It’s not only the Supreme Court that follows the election returns. Hollywood, too, does its bit, and movie theatres have been increasingly filled with right-wingy patriotism, like the rest of the media this endless summer. I went to see Red Dawn expecting a bout of anti-Soviet warmongering, but instead was pleasantly surprised. This is hardly a great picture, and is indeed flawed. But Red Dawn is an enjoyable teen-age saga, and, apart from right-wingy pro-NATO credits at the beginning of the film, it is not so much pro-war as it is anti-State. The warfare it celebrates is not interstate strife, but guerrilla conflict that the great radical libertarian military analyst, General Charles Lee, labeled “people’s war” two centuries before Mao and Che.
The beginning of the picture is exciting, if idiotic. Cuban, Nicaraguan, Mexican and other Commie Hispanic troops, headed by Soviet advisors, parachute into and successfully conquer the entire prairie Mid West, from the Rockies to the Mississippi. In the opening sequence, the Red paratroops swiftly invade and, for some reason, annihilate a high school in the mythical town of “Culver City,” Colorado, presumably somewhere in the East Slope foothills of the Rockies. In a neat touch, gun control has made it easy for the Commie occupiers to round up all the registered guns in the area. But a half-dozen high school kids escape and set up a guerrilla camp in the Rockies. Jed, the older leader and a former school quarterback, whips the other reluctant lads into shape, and soon the tiny guerrilla band, using light arms, mobile tactics, and superior knowledge of the terrain, strike terror into the Red occupying forces while brandishing the rallying name of “Wolverines.”