This is what we call a movie-movie, a movie that throws nuance and self-consciousness and artiness to the wind and concentrates on the slam-bam. It's richly entertaining, it's big, it moves fast. [10 Aug 1984, p.C1]
As an action movie, Red Dawn is a repetitive headache, and anyone with Blue State sympathies will be appalled at its manipulations and exaggerations. But there's smart subtext beneath the big dumb explosions.
Red Dawn charges off to an exciting start as a war picture and then gets all confused in moralistic handwriting, finally sinking in the sunset. Swayze, Howell and the other youngsters are all good in their parts.
The film is too dumb to work as patriotic exhortation and too mawkish to work as blood-and-guts exploitation. It's a long commercial in which the Marlboro Man has become the American Guerrilla, with his good buddies, good guns and a bottomless case of Coors. [03 Sep 1984, p.73]
Another infantile right-wing fantasy from writer-director John Milius, this cinematic embodiment of the paranoid delusions of militarists, survivalists, and television evangelists is definitely a film for the Reagan era. Red Dawn is simply too
simplistic and inept to be taken seriously.