It's easy to take most films' war-torn elsewheres for granted, and taken on its own merits, Red Dawn is a victory of small battles and heavy artillery, sentimental but rarely too hackneyed, energetic without becoming too silly.
—William Goss The Playlist
Despite the considerable impediment of a premise arguably even sillier than that of the original "Red Dawn," helmer Dan Bradley's long-delayed remake of John Milius' 1984 kids-vs.-Commies adventure delivers enough thrilling action sequences and rock-'em, sock-'em fantasy-fulfillment to amp its B.O. potential.
—Joe Leydon Variety
The best segments of the film occur early, as the setting is established with a dose of "Friday Night Lights" normalcy followed by an invasion that recalls "Independence Day."
—James Berardinelli Reel Views
In his debut the director, Dan Bradley, a stunt coordinator with a long list of credits, handles the low-fi action well, which helps divert attention from the bargain-bin special effects, bad acting and politics.
—Manohla Dargis New York Times
A closing scene, rousingly patriotic, takes place back on the football field. I think I'm beginning to understand why the Chinese were not reckoned to be a prime market for this film.
—Roger Ebert Chicago Sun Times