BEFORE Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey melted hearts in Dirty Dancing, they starred together in the 1984 war film Red Dawn.
Now, 28 years later, Home and Away sweethearts Chris Hemsworth and Isabel Lucas are starring together in the film's 2012 reboot.
The Cold War foes who invaded American soil in the original film have been replaced by a more modern enemy, North Korea, but the bones of the storyline remain the same.
Like its Aussie counterpart Tomorrow, When the War Began, Red Dawn sees a group of teenagers resort to guerrilla warfare in an attempt to take back their small town from the foreign invaders.
"The reboot is heavily inspired by the original," said producer Tripp Vinson.
"There are a lot of fans out that who loved the original but we spent a lot of time thinking about the story and how to augment it to make it work in today's world."
The modern twist on the invasion tale involved a week-long boot camp where the nine actors playing "the Wolverines" learned how to handle AK-47s, rockets and grenade launchers.
"(Ex-marine) John Barton had them eating authentic military rations, putting together weapons from scratch and cleaning their own weapons," said producer Beau Flynn.
"He also put them in Kill Town, where they were fighting against five or six real marines with pellet guns.
"These guys got hit by pellets and have the bruises to show it and that was more than enough for them to know they were only getting a fraction of what it means to be a real marine."
The Red Dawn reboot sees veteran second unit director and stunt co-ordinator Dan Bradley, best known for his work on The Bourne franchise, Quantum of Solace and Spider-Man 3, make his directorial debut.
"Not to sound grandiose, but in many ways, and for many of us, it feels that the things we hold most dear as Americans just don't seem as secure as they once were," he said.
"Frankly, an invasion is a fantasy but it is an apt metaphor for how many people feel about the world today."
Bradley, who has worked with everyone from Daniel Craig to Matt Damon in the action film genre, was full of praise for the film's Aussie leading man.
"Chris Hemsworth is just plain watchable," he said.
"A man's man, he is a star with great physical strength that only matches his heart."
The same goes for Lucas, who was last seen on the big screen as the Greek god Athena in Immortals.
"Isabel Lucas is our Helen of Troy. Josh Peck's character goes to war for her," Bradley said.
"She wears her heart just behind her amazing eyes."
Red Dawn also stars Josh Hutcherson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Adrianne Palicki and Connor Cruise, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's adopted son, in his adult acting debut.
Red Dawn opens on Thursday.
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