Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Red Dawn 2": North Korea uses EMP against us -- but it couldn't happen this way

The remake of “Red Dawn” starts innocently enough at a high school football game in Spokane, WA, where the Wolverines hold off a field goal attempt and win.  There is a curious confrontation between the coach and a filmmaker wanting to put the game on his website. 

While everybody celebrates, the power suddenly goes out. They’re outside when it happens.  The next morning, some of the teammates and older brothers (One returned from the Army, played by Chris Hemsworth) awaken to sights and sounds of paratroopers dropped from fixed wing planes landing on their town, shooing up civilians, and quickly setting up a military government.

The 1984 film had started with soldiers dropping into a Colorado high school field from choppers with no warning. In that film, the enemy was communists from Central America, under Soviet aegis. This time, it’s North Korea.

As for the rest of the film, you could say it’s an imitation of Beirut or the West Bank, how local resistance can turn back and invader with scorched earth.  Actually, the kids run to the hills, and the enemy has to take some effort to find them (shooting them with tagged bullets).  All of it is pretty much popcorn stuff, none of it believable.  There’s no away a guerilla Army could move around this way if something like this could happen.

There is a lot written about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.  Back in 2002, George Tenet of the CIA said that North Korea could lob a missile with a nuke as far as Alaska or even the US Pacific Northwest.  But there’s no way North Korea could ever on its own arrange a ground parachute attack and control large amounts of US territory.  Presumably, it conquered South Korea first – that idea is never mentioned.  The film does say that North Korea has help from the Russians, but, oddly, not the Chinese (enemies).  Iran would make a more credible “ally” for the DNR.

Even so, back in the 1990s, North Korea had been considered our most dangerous potential enemy; few people understood Al Qaeda yet.

Late in the film, the kids encounter some Marines ready to join their “militia”. The Marine officer says that both US coasts were hit by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) blast, knocking out the power, followed by multiple ground detonations of either dirty bombs or neutron bombs – that wasn’t clear.  The latter possibility was actually feared for a while after 9/11 especially by doomsday speakers like Charles Krauthammer. It doesn’t sound credible now.  But it is possible that North Korea or Iran (or both) could route nuclear materials to terrorists who could launch moderate to high altitude nuclear blasts with scuds from cargo ships offshore. That’s the pretext of the 2009 novel “One Second After” (Book reviews July 20, 2012), which ought to become a movie.

One problem with using the EMP idea here is that ordinary electronics and automobiles aren’t knocked out in the film.  They probably would be.  An invading Army would not be easily able to restore power even for itself.

It is possible that the radical left could embark on terrorism, just as radical Islam did.  Back in the 1980s, I developed some novel  manuscripts based on that idea.  The basic idea was that big cities could be attacked with radioactive contamination (essentially “dirty bombs”), and that disorder in an area around the city would occur, and law would break down, and locally a “revolution” could happen.  In the novels, generally a character like me gradually encounters a charismatic figure who knows about the plot. After job loss (prepared with a series of episodes), the character based on me lives in an academy, intended to train civilian defense “reservists”, where he is when chaos breaks out.  But I had imagined all this before Communism fell. 

There are a few scenes where the North Koreas display their ideology, and the militia display their own, based on family values that set in well before men have children.

So, this implausible action film, directed by Dan Bradley, is indeed a bit of a right wing fantasy.  Maybe Newt Gingrich would like it.

It is distributed by Film District and United Artists (MGM).  The official site is here

The film was actually shot in Michigan.  The city scenes actually appear to come from Detroit. 

I think we need a modern documentary about the EMP and solar storm threats to the power grids.  Is Morgan Spurlock game?  Maybe I can push this myself. 

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