Sarah and I watched this last night from Netflix. I'm so disappointed. I'm more than ready to believe the premise of high-school guerrilla warfare. But this was clearly written by a soldier, not by someone with knowledge of emotion and plot. The emotions are completely wooden. The only love in the story is a girl going gaga for a married soldier, and even that was barely detectable. I couldn't feel anything for all but one of the deaths in the movie (and the only thing I felt for that one was shock).
The soldier who must have wrote this hammered in the following lesson over and over again: when you're dying, try to take out one last guy from the other side, and say something dramatic and glorious so your death will be meaningful. Yuck. He hammered it in for both sides, too. Be a good soldier, and fight for your state.
Speaking of which, that's the moral read to us explicitly at the end of the film: these people fought and died for their government. Not for their families. For their government.
My imagination was alive with ideas of young guys going off in the woods and keeping a shadow civilization going, starting families with the girls and defending themselves. A shame that didn't happen. In the mind of this script writer, girls fall only for old military guys (probably just like the script writer, I'll bet).
There were lots of action scenes, but they were boring as all get out. Obviously written by somebody who thinks the interesting part about wars is the battles and not the history and ideas and people involved. There was lots of senseless deaths, etc., so I guess he was trying to tell us how awful wars are from a first hand view.
The characterization was practically dead, as were most of the characters. Lots of people were defined at the beginning, and then we never heard from them again. Sometimes they were off to the side in the background, never being a personality. Sometimes we just learned they'd died somewhere along the way. The relationships between the characters weren't even good enough to be melodramatic. It was like seeing the very Soviet propaganda the film had, telling us how good families were and how they made us better citizens. Nothing genuinely worth fighting for, in my opinion.
The film also suffered from the long, long foreign language sequences. You have to be trilingual to understand it. (Seriously: Russian and Spanish, in addition to English, because of the film's laughable plot of Cuba launching part of the invasion.) Some short foreign language spots would have been great. Maybe one long one. But whole strategic planning sessions in Russian? Come on; at least The Passion of the Christ had captions!
I believe readily in the premise of guerrilla warfare in the unlikely event of invasion. I believe readily in the premise of fighting high schoolers. (Teenagehood is really a modern invention for delaying adulthood.) I'm willing to suspend disbelief for the idea of Cuba invading alongside the USSR. But I really didn't want to hear a lesson in dying for the state with no feeling at all.