Jed Eckart (Hemsworth) is back in his hometown after a tour of Iraq. Not quite connecting with his cop father, and a little concerned about his kid brother, the reckless high school quarterback Matt (Peck), Jed is just beginning to adjust to normal life when something goes boom and all the power cuts out.
The following morning, the Eckart boys wake to a sky full of invading Koreans. The boys grab a truck, a couple of friends, and head for the woods to regroup. When the leader of this particular invasion puts a bullet into Dad's head, they have no choice - they gotta fight back.
Jed sets about training the rag-tag bunch of perfectly-toothed and manicured girls and pretty boys (including The Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson) to start a guerilla war that may just lead to the liberation of their hometown.
Despite audience and critical protestation at the plethora of remakes that make up the majority of Hollywood slates, it's probably worth pointing out that studios will keep remaking films as long as the 'ready made' audiences lap them up. But when there's nothing else to watch, we end up watching the likes of Red Dawn.
On the bright side, this 'reimagining' of the popular 80s, Patrick Swayze-starring, high-concept action thriller is not the pointless disaster we might have expected.
Sure, there's little by way of ingenuity here - much of the aciton is shot-for-shot lifted from the 1984 version, but thanks to time and money, they're now a hell of a lot better. Which is something we might expect from first-time director, Dan Bradley, a veteran stuntman of over 100 Hollywood productions.
The concept is, undeniably, ridiculous, and the plotholes plentiful if one cares to look. But Red Dawn zips along at such a pace it's hard to notice. This is, pretty much, a low-logic, high-action guilty pleasure.
But that's not to say it's bone-headed, even if the motives for the Korean invaders (digitally switched from Chinese when the producers realised the size of the market they were about to alienate) is ridiculously unclear, and the politics hammered home with the subtlety of Rambo's bowie knife.
It's also somewhat refreshing for the leads to have decent arcs. Granted, Josh Peck has a surprisingly extensive line in smug expressions and the blandness of the supporting cast make it a little tricky to follow who just died, but Red Dawn '13 at least has the cojones to kill-off key cast members in the first place. And for that we should be thankful.
The final act, replete with a suitcase macguffin, stretches credibility even further, but there's still time for a quick twist and an ending that's not quite tied up with a bow (cynics may wonder if a sequel is in the offing).
Fortunately for all, the ride is fun enough to make Red Dawn feel as though it wasn't a waste of time after all.