When I was overseas, we were the good guys, we enforced order. Now, we’re the bad guys, & we create chaos. This is how Jed describes the war he is teaching to these boys. He alone fought; he is a Marine, of course. But he fought for them, because they are all democrats. He is much less polite, however, when he has to teach them. Learning about war is learning about pain & death. If you do not like it, you cannot be good at it.
The mind of Jed is our concern. He knows that some will betray him; that he must let his father die & his brother watch the execution. Necessity has taught him to survive. But necessity is too harsh & too intelligent for Americans, therefore, for everyone. He knows his enemies do not want to be his enemies…
In these latter days, China is the enemy America must face. The question again arises: Will the children of democracy fight? Jed tells the boys he saved to fight for their land, because it is theirs: They were born to freedom, so they need to earn it. He says that fighting comes easy to him; he is a man. They, however, would have to make a tougher choice: They live the unmanly life of peace. One of them distinguishes armed & unarmed women.
What luxury to see an invading army turn into an occupation force! Apparently, the Chinese wage war in America like Americans did in the Middle East… Jed’s brother feels abandoned because Jed joined the army when their mother died, so he abandons his friend to his death to save the girl he loves. His friends resemble him overmuch – they acquiesce. Jed, does what is needed, & apologizes. His own budding romance is interrupted by bombs.
The city looms much larger over these few kids. It is impossible, to look at them, to believe they could live in the forest. There is something at once fragile & sophisticated about them. They talk about their childhood play & the affection childhood instilled in them. When they become aware of the magnitude of the catastrophe, they see the end of the world come near… They very easily slip back into the city & though they are illegals now, they retain their connections to the people.
We are invited to wonder whether the high school quarterback & the cheerleader would not go well together when they have to face harsh necessity. The bold & the fair are supposed to deserve each other… We are also invited to wonder whether the town sheriff’s sons are not better suited to sports & war than other kids – especially, the mayor’s son.
If you’ve seen the original, you should see this even if only for comparison.