It's taken me an eternity, but tonight I bring you another Movie Guns!
I've been pickin' at this one for awhile, and I'm pleased to bring you the film Red Dawn.
I've always loved this movie, and when it came out most folks didn't dismiss the idea of Russians jumping into the US and trying to take over. We don't have to worry about the Reds parachuting in with guns blazing in this day and age; the American public just votes them into the highest offices in our government instead. The Cubans wander in right off the boat and onto our shores without a challenge. They even bring us drugs!
I'm not going to cover much of the storyline, but instead I'm going to focus on the tactics, where applicable.
Here is the opening scene where a teacher walks outside to see the Russian army, reinforced with Cuban troops, parachuting into Colorado:
Ivan the Russian lights up the windows of the school with an RPK Light Machine Gun right after he guns down the teacher:
A Russian soldier fires a decrepid looking RPG7 with a rocket almost as long as the tube into the school, and if you look closely at the second picture you can see the wire that the rocket is traveling on:
A couple of students knock a Russian soldier to the ground, and during the scuffle you can see that the rifle is made of rubber:
Another soldier busts up the grill of a car with a AKS:
Three students - Robert, Matt, and Danny (C. Thomas Howell, Charlie Sheen, and Brad Savage respectively) - manage to jump into Jed's (Patrick Swayze) truck as they haul ass away from the school. Jed has an unknown shotgun and a Savage Model 110 in a rifle rack, as well as a Colt Single Action Army in the glove box:
Ahh, the days when you could have your guns visible in your vehicle at school and nobody cared. . .
They head down to the local gas station/sporting goods store, and the owner hands the teens guns, food, and camping supplies. One guy wisely grabs a box of arrows, which are reuseable, and a bow, while the others grab as much ammo as they can carry:
Is it me, or does Remington ammunition boxes look exactly the same today as they did in the 80's?
In town, this bumper sticker is shown on a truck right before the camera pans down to the dead owner; still holding his 1911:
As Jed and the gang are headed for the country, they see a Russian checkpoint up ahead which gets lit up by a US gunship. They pause to watch the fireworks, and Jed is waving his Colt SAA in the air while Robert fires his Marlin 336C in the general direction of the Russians:
Judging by the recoil, I'd say he fired off a real 30.30 cartridge.
When the gang gets into the woods, they decide to do a little hunting. Jed's Savage 110 and Robert's Marlin can be seen better here:
After a few weeks in the woods, the guys go out to see if they can find some information about what is going on. While out and about, Jed flags his buddy with the muzzle of his rifle:
Here's a glimpse of a M134 'minigun' that is lying next to a blown out tank:
It's the only shot of one that I saw in the whole film, and it was never fired.
The Russians have the town under control. A Cuban Colonel tells one of his subordinates to go to the gun stores and get the 4473 forms that US federal law requires the stores to keep:
This will help the Reds find out who owns guns, and therefore might pose a risk to their forces. This is but one weakness in the firearm records system that gun owners have been talking about for many years.
While this is going on, a soldier fires a SA7 surface-to-air rocket at a US gunship:
The Russians go about doing day-to-day attrocities to the citizens of the town; some of which is seen here in the form of dissidents being executed in front of an armored firing squad:
When three sightseeing Red officers decide to get some pictures in the remote Colorado wilderness - which just happens to be the stomping ground of the teenage hideaways - the real trouble ensues. Here are the officers with AK47s slung muzzle down:
One of the Russians gets an arrow in the back from this guy:
A bow is a silent and lethal weapon; more than capable of this type of warfare. Sure you have to get close, but you don't have to worry about the report from a rifle muzzle giving your position away.
Either way, it doesn't matter in this scene as the rest of the guys shoot the Russians all full of holes. Here's Robert hip firing what I believe to be a Winchester Model 1300 pump with the corn cob slide:
There's a lot more hip firing where that came from, and now that the gang has their first taste of blood they decide to start a full blown insurgency against the Russian army.
This is one of the scenes where they ambush a few tankers while they were getting gas. Toni (Jennifer Grey) initiates the attack when they take her basket into the tank. The basket had a bomb in it, and when it blows up, several of the soldiers give chase. One of them has this auto tanto knife, which I find odd considering that tantos weren't very popular back then:
Toni leads them into a field where the second half of the ambush goes down. Four of the guys are hiding out in concealed fighting holes, and they spring out when the Reds get close. Jed cuts one down at very close range with some hip firing from an AK47, and Robert and Matt take out the other two with a AK 47 and a Remington 870 shotgun:
The ambush worked great; if not a little complex for beginners with no training whatsoever.
Now that they're getting some success, they step it up by naming themselves the 'Wolverines,' and going about massacreing the Russians with one brutal ambush after another. Robert decides that his Remington 870 would be better off without a tight shot pattern, and takes a hacksaw to the barrel:
Later he marks notches in the stock of his AK with a balisong:
I'm a big fan of the balisong.
Here is another well laid ambush. Notice that they're all on one side, well protected, not trying to "bracket" the target with guys on both sides, and spare magazines are already placed where they can be picked up. You don't want your peeps shooting at one another:
The Wolverines are very disciplined. In this ambush they wait for Russian special forces troops to get in real close before they shoot them up:
This Heavy Machine Gun resembles a DShKM, but there's soemthing not quite right about it. I noticed it on several of them in the film and I wonder if they're mock ups using M60 parts. Here's another one:
Somewhere in the middle of one of the fights I caught a glimpse of this FN FAL:
Toni is a big fan of the Valmet M78 as she can be seen cutting Reds down in several scenes with one, and some of the others use it as well:
She's partial to the Russian Tokarev TT as well:
During one of the fights Matt is using a RPG7, and he has spare rockets on his back. While I'm sure they're heavy, the RPG just makes sense. I know that the US has badass anti-armor weapons as well - the Javelin comes to mind - but we don't have anything that's close to the RPG in soldier friendliness, ease of reloading, and very man portable. We do have the SMAW, but it just seems cheap; and I'm well aware that the RPG is not very accurate. It just fills a general purpose role very well, and I wonder why haven't gone that route:
Here is Jed firing his Savage 110 while freeing a bunch of Americans from a POW camp, after which they arm the Americans with a truckload of weapons like the Ruger Mini 14:
This weeks mystery gun is a revolver carried by Lt. Col. Andrew Tanner (Powers Boothe):
Getting toward the end now, the remaining Wolverines attack the Russian headquarters in the center of town. One Russian officer is seen holding a Makarov pistol:
And a Russian special forces officer is seen here with a Jatimatic sub machine gun:
Jed takes the special forces guy down with his trusty Colt, during which he flinches badly:
It's hard to beat this flick if you're into gunplay. Some of the tactics are pretty sound as well. You will notice throughout the movie that the Wolverines use much of the equipment that the Russians use after they take it from them. That's what I'd do.
My favorite part is when Robert and Toni ask Lt. Colonel Tanner "What's defilade?" and "What's grazing fire?"
Well, I got more vomit from an angry baby settling into the pores on my left arm as I type this last bit one handed, and I can feel the warm pee leaking out of his worthless pampers and into my shirt at this very moment, so I gotta go!
Hi, MT2008 from IMFDB here. Your hunch about the "DShKs" is right - they're M60Ds mocked up to resemble DShKs, because in the 1980s, movie armorers couldn't get ahold of the real thing. The RPG-7 is also a fake.
Likewise, the "AK47s" in the movie are Egyptian Maadi AKM copies, semi-auto civie versions converted to auto.
the mysterious revolver looks like a regular Smith $ Wesson K-frame to me, 4-in barell, adjustable sights... dunno, m19 or m15? can't see if the ejector rod is shrouded.
I don't think thats a savage 110 in that pic? I think its a ruger m77.
The knife the tank commander had was not a automatic Tanto. It was a German paratrooper gravity knife.
They are NOT. AK-47s. Any gun enthusiast can tell you that.
The "AK-47" you described is in fact an AKM. Look at the slanted flash hider, the rounded cheek rest on the stock, the oval indentation above the magazine housing and the wider forehand.
The DsHK mock ups are M-60T machine guns for waist mounts on UH-1 Hueys. Some genius on the Red Dawn tech crew must have decided that a big flash hider similar to a DsHK would make it a decent replica....too bad its not.
also note that all russian vehicles in the movie are all mocked up US vehicles. not complaining, as during the cold war im sure BMPs and T-72s were hard to obtain.
also the destoyed "tank" outside of the town is in fact an M42 'Duster' self propelled AA gun, not a tank.
Awful movie, but you did a great movie, seriously! I admire you fine reviews so much!
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