Apart from being considerably shorter, this crowd-pleasing yet truncated remake of John Milius' 1984 jingoistic war fantasy does not at all improve on the original, which was a bloated and extreme bit of paranoid, patriotic propaganda to begin with. Fans may find themselves wishing they were watching Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and the rest of the original cast instead of the pale-by-comparison youngsters who populate this flick. This time around, the highly miscast duo of Chris Hemsworth and Josh Peck are the brothers who corral a group of teenagers (including The Hunger Games
' Josh Hutcherson in the C. Thomas Howell "nerd-who-becomes-a-killing-machine" role and Adrianne Palicki and Isabel Lucas as the resident cute chicks with guns) into taking action when their hometown gets invaded by enemy forces. (In this version, the stereotypically savage Russians are now replaced by stereotypically savage North Koreans.) Along with looking even more cheaply made than the original (the big action set pieces look like they were all done on the same city block), this ham-fisted, wholly melodramatic version lacks the sincere sense of gravitas that the original at least had going for it.