“Red Dawn” remake is filming largely in Michigan.

So I’m cruising through my collection of RSS feeds when I come across an article on IO9 with set pics from the upcoming remake of Red Dawn, a movie I really don’t see a need to be remade. It’s most notable for two things: 1) It was the first movie with a PG-13 rating and 2) it once held the Guinness World Record for most acts of violence in a film.

For those of you fortunate enough to be young enough not to have seen the film, or who just never got around to it, it was a 1984 flick about World War III where the Russians manage to invade and take over America practically overnight only to be foiled by a bunch of high schoolers who take up arms and set up a guerrilla resistance to defend their sleepy Midwestern town. Supposedly it took place in Calumet, Colorado, but it was actually filmed in New Mexico with Las Vegas, NM standing in for Calumet. I don’t remember a whole lot from the movie as it’s been decades since I last watched it, but I do recall thinking at the time that it was a stinking pile of shit. Granted I was 16 years old when it came out and hadn’t developed the refined sense of criticism that I posses today, but my opinion probably wouldn’t change much if I were to watch it again.

So anyway, as I said previously, I’m reading the IO9 RSS feed and it comes to an article about set pics from the remake. Just as I’m about to roll my eyes and scroll past it, because I just don’t give a shit about this movie, my eyes alight upon the following:

The Red Dawn reboot rallies to re-educate the workers of Pontiac, MI to fight corporate corruption. Check out some new set pics and video, which show the anti-captalism propaganda plastered across the streets after the Chinese and Russians have invaded.

As many of you know Pontiac is my home town so my reaction to seeing that was, what the fuck? They’re setting the remake in Pontiac? That’s hardly a sleepy midwestern rural town and there aren’t any mountains in the damned state (in the original the kids hide in the mountains until they form a plan). Turns out that, no, the film isn’t set in Michigan, but it is largely being filmed here. The actual setting has been moved to Spokane, Washington and the invaders this time are the Chinese, with help from the Russians later on.

Apparently they just started shooting back on the second week of September and are using a number of different cities as locations. In addition to Pontiac they also had some major action taking place in Madison Heights, Royal Oak, Detroit, and a few other locations further north. I suppose if I’d been paying attention to the local news media I’d already know all of this as they did a story on it back when filming started, but that would require actually watching the news.

I have no idea if this version will be better than the original, word has it they’re upping the action and perhaps the rating, but I’m duty bound to watch it now if for no other reason than to see my hometown dressed up in Chinese propaganda posters. It also looks like they’re looking for extras so perhaps I’ll dash off an email and see if I can’t score a little time in the background of a scene or two. Been meaning to start paying attention to the film industry in Michigan for the chance to be an extra and now is as good a time as any. In the meantime I’ll keep an eye on the Red Dawn 2010 fan site for more location pics so I can giggle at the surreality of Chinese troops invading places I grew up in.

22 thoughts on ““Red Dawn” remake is filming largely in Michigan.

  1. A couple of months or so ago I got to be on set for a night of shooting this movie in Ypsi: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1423995/

    I ended up standing about 20ft from Bob De Niro and Ed Norton.

    A family friend owns a very old shoe repair shop in Depot Town in Ypsi. It has awesome rustic sign that caught the attention of a location scout. Well the crew ended up using the apartment above his shop for the film’s love interest just so they could use the street and his storefront for the approach shots. Also a fight scene was filmed in the alley behind the shop.

    My parents and I hung out in the shoe shop all afternoon watching them prepare the set. Their attention to detail is amazing. One crew member’s job was to make the front windows dirty, and no joke they spent hours on it… Spraying some dirty solution, wiping, and doing it over, to get it just right. They even darkened the corners of every brick in the wall to change them from solid redbrick to a burned brick look.

    When the actual shooting began that night we met the director and he requested that we not have our ugly mugs staring out the window at the cameras :D. So he allowed us to sit right alongside the crew instead of making us go the 200 yards to stand behind a barricade.

  2. I liked the original movies, but I wish the new movie wouldn’t pander to Michigan’s crazies.

  3. MM, don’t know if it will or not. Like I said, it’s not set here, just filming here.

    Tina, sorry, but I hated it. It was totally absurd to begin with and I couldn’t get past that even at 16. Call me Mr. Nitpicky. wink

  4. Knowing the rabid patriotism going on in this country now, I wouldn’t be surprised if they change the end so that the kids not only save their town, but the entire country and stage a counter-invasion, kidnapping all of China’s leaders and force them to renounce their wicked communist ways.

    I’d still watch it, but I’d be laughing all the way through it.

    btw: What’s this about the Chinese teaming up with capitalist pigs… er I mean the Russian mob…. I mean Russia… to invade America??  Don’t they know that they hate each other now… or is this another “resurgence of the Soviets” kind of thing…

    So many questions… so few brain cells I want to spend getting answers…..

  5. I was 13 when the original came out. It was a pretty great movie for it’s time. Remember this was back in 1983 or 1984. By today’s standards it is a pile of shit.

    Just like practically any movie you have to suspend belief. No the Cubans and Russians would have never have had any hope of invading the US even at the height of the cold war. Just like the Chinese and Russians can’t do it today.

    But this remake is supposed to be more gritty with the action with a lot of handheld shots as is the style that most movies use today. The cast is going to be more multi-cultural too.

    It will be interesting to see what they do with this remake. Just like the many science fiction movies/shows (take Dr. Who for example) you have to just suspend belief in reality for a couple of hours.

    I doubt that the right-wing patriotic nutjobs out there are going to have any love for this movie because I hear that the storyline has to do with the United States being partially to blame for the start of the war. They also are probably not going to like the multi-cultural flavor either. So we shall see.

  6. I doubt that the right-wing patriotic nutjobs out there are going to have any love for this movie because I hear that the storyline has to do with the United States being partially to blame forthe start of the war. They also are probably not going to like the multi-cultural flavor either. So we shall see.

    In that case, I might like it more than I thought I would.

    As for suspension of disbelief, I got no problem with that.  The original fit with the periods popular notion (that the Soviets were the boogeyman and Cuba was their ally)  This time, however, regardless of the relative military strength of China and Russia, as things stand now, they would never work together.

    However, that leaves lots of room for political intrigue.  The Russians and the Chinese could have a falling out and start beating up on each other, allowing the US to recover and defeat the invasion.. The Russians might switch sides.. whatever.  It will push my suspension of disbelief past the breaking point to think that the Chinese would just say “Hey… Russia, wanna go beat up America?” and both of them go at it because they are evil best buddies.

    China doesn’t have much of a reason to attack the US.  They wouldn’t want our economy to collapse any more than we do, so it makes more sense that the US somehow gave them no choice, but even that’s stretching things a bit.

    On the other hand, anyone watching a remake of Red Dawn shouldn’t expect much… sort of like the remake of “V”  I will happily watch it and munch popcorn with the rest of them.  Maybe not in the theater, since my near hysterical laughter might spoil other movie-goers enjoyment smile

  7. MM, don’t know if it will or not. Like I said, it’s not set here, just filming here.

    Too many of the particularly dangerous flavors of US “militia” groups up there for me to be entirely comfortable with them even watching a movie film set with people speaking foreign languages waving guns really.

    Without going into it in detail, because I’m not sure I’m allowed to, there was a time when organizations my father was involved in had to armed security and heavy support from the FBI to do business in Michigan. Considering that there was never any problems in places anywhere else in the world without worrying about materials being attacked, Michigan’s radical element has always made the state seem like it must have some counties somewhere that had that whole “Third World Mystique” that you usually don’t get outside of Lebanon and the former state of Yugoslavia.

    I mean, you’re forced to have that enormous beard to help you conceal a small caliber pistol to defend yourself, right? Don’t bother to deny it!

  8. You must be talking about the Michigan Militia. They made a lot of noise for awhile and were in the spotlight for awhile thanks to the idiots who bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma, but have been fairly quiet as of late.

    They’re still around, and I’m sure the FBI is keeping an eye on them, but they’ve not been making too much of a fuss.

  9. Without going into it in detail, because I’m not sure I’m allowed to, there was a time when organizations my father was involved in had to armed security and heavy support from the FBI to do business in Michigan

    You can’t tease us like that- we want chapter and verse.

    Let’s face it Les- if you watched it now you bitch about the Reaganite 6 teens beat the entire Red army plot. It was crap.

    On a different subject…
    You’re It.

  10. This was probably a decade before the Oklahoma City bombings – they might be quiet now but that doesn’t mean they’re not probably still around eating squirrel brains and ketchup, plotting their next crazy stunt to kill people.

  11. You call this movie absurd when you watch tv shows about Time Travel?  C’mon!

  12. Dr Who IS realistic, with it’s own premise (alien in time machine outwits evil aliens).  If the Dr suddenly grew wings and flew, then it would be straining its boundaries (Handwavium would have to be ladled on).  If Donna or Rose or Martha grew wings and flew THEN it would be unrealistic.

    RD never provised a beliveable ‘universe’ where a few teenagers could outfight a heavily armed army, outside of the “USA is can do this, no matter how unbelievable” stance.

  13. The Michigan Militia never had anything to do with Oklahoma City, you should watch the news more often, so here is your opportunity :

  14. I never said the Michigan Militia had anything to do with Oklahoma City. I said they were in the spotlight because of it, which is true. The video clip you linked to backs up my claim quite well. Had they not been in the spotlight there wouldn’t have been all those news articles about it.

    Got any more comments from me you’d like to completely misconstrue?

  15. Didn’t like RED Dawn , eh??
    It was Cubans, not Russians, and……….well, there is so much more to add about this terrible movie and worse review. Looks like a whole tub of missinformation, just about par for this website.

  16. From every synopsis of the plot I’ve seen it was a combination of Soviet (Russian) and Cuban forces. The only way to be sure is to watch the film again and there’s no real chance of me doing that anytime soon. Not willingly anyway.

    As for this being a review… where did I say it was a review?

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