The roughly 90-minute spot, which hits theaters today, is a remake of a classic 1980s film of the same name starring Patrick Swayze, which followed a young American insurgency fighting back against a Soviet invasion. The 2012 version features an invasion from North Korea, and stars Chris Hemsworth as lead character Jed Eckert.
“This commercial is probably one of the best ones we have ever done,” said Capt. Steven McGee with Recruiting Command. “We thought the last commercial we released to theaters, Battle: Los Angeles, would never be topped. But I think folks are going to be pleasantly surprised.”
In the 2012 version of Red Dawn, Eckert is a Marine, home on leave after a combat tour. After the North Koreans invade and enter his hometown, he does what every Marine is trained to do.
“He heads straight to the armory to stand outside waiting for weapons draw for about 45 minutes. We wanted this film to be ultra realistic, so for that period, it’s just raw, gritty — standing in a long line outside an armory,” said McGee.
After Eckert gets to the armory window, he realizes that in the confusion of invasion, he forgot his weapons card. He spends a few minutes trying to reason with the armorer, saying, “hey look man, give me my damn weapon, there is shit going down out here!” But the armorer just shrugs, barely listening over the sound of an iPod in the background in the air-conditioned building, and tells him, “no card, no weapon.”
Without his issued weapon, Eckert — who as a Marine is well-versed in the world renowned and highly deadly Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) — is able to dispatch a North Korean soldier with a leg sweep. After he goes down, Eckert then executes a flawless face stomp with his boot, while shouting “Marine Corps!” in accordance with regulations.
After getting the enemy’s AK-47, Eckert begins to organize his friends in the neighborhood into an “insurgent platoon”, defending their homeland. In a departure from the original, which named the group “The Wolverines”, Eckert instead insists the name should be the “JJ DID TIE BUCKLE‘s.”
The new recruiting effort is a sharp change from Marine commercials of the past. The release of the “It’ll Get You Laid & Driving A Corvette” commercial was hailed as the most realistic portrayal of the 1970s Marine Corps. And the 1989 “Knight” commercial reflected the Cold War equestrian arms race, with a medieval knight morphing into a Marine officer.
But Recruiting Command felt the Corps wasn’t doing enough to show the awesome power of U.S. Marines, as well as highlight the threat of North Korea — a country on the cutting edge of communications, military arms, and rice-growing technology.
“We believe this will be the finest recruiting commercial produced to date, but we’re not going to rest on our laurels,” said McGee. “We’ve already begun shooting our World War Z commercial, which highlights our roots as an anti-zombie force in readiness.”