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MOVIES: Tomorrow When the War Began – The Australian Red Dawn

Minutemen – Australian style

So I was browsing the movies at the local hajji shop here in Baghdad when I ran across an Australian flick called “Tomorrow When The War Began”. Considering the rather thin choices [it was a draw between that and another poorly dubbed Steven Seagal flick] I went ahead and snapped it up. Luckily it turned out to be a pretty damn good flick.

Tomorrow When the War Began is a pretty loyal big screen version of the immensely popular [in Australia] book of the same name written by John Marsden [it is actually a series of books]. The movie is basically a “foreign army invades” story told from the eyes of a group of teenagers.

Now you are probably thinking the same think I thought when I read the description, Red Dawn. And while there are many similarities between Tomorrow When the War Began and Red Dawn there are enough differences to make this still entertaining and worth watching.

The movie starts off with a group of teenagers going on a camping trip in the Australian Bush while unbeknownst to them [despite tons of military aircraft flying over them every night in the outback] a mysterious foreign military has began its invasion of Australia. When returning to town they discover that their families are missing and no one is to be found.

Eventually they realize an unnamed foreign army has launched a massive invasion of Australia and rounded all civilians up and placed them in concentration camps. At first they do the usual looking for their families and scavenging for food but eventually they are drawn into defending themselves against the black clad occupying soldiers.

Stormtrooper bad guys

After much debate they decide to take up a more offensive position and hash up a plan to attack a major supply route. I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone here that has not seen it so I won’t go any further but that is the gist of it.

The ‘mysterious’ invading foreign army is never identified at all during the movie, that sort of stuff usually annoys me in movies but they were never named in the book either. The author felt that “who” it wasn’t really important because the story was about the group of teenagers and how they survive and change and not about the ‘who’s”. Because the filmmaker was being loyal to the author I let it slide but it still annoyed me a little.

It is pretty damn obvious to everyone but the blind it is the Red Chinese [or every Asian guy from Hamas] invading. Besides the gay ass ninja uniforms they are wearing the bad guys have some pretty cool dune buggies and play the part of an “evil” invading force without being stereotypically heartless.

The only time they mention a reason behind the invasion is a passing blurb about “the diminishing supply of the world’s natural resources” [sounds eerily familiar doesn’t it].

My favorite line in the movie is when one of the teenage kids says “We had done nothing to earn our freedom” when referring to their old lives and the guerilla war that now lay ahead of them.

Basically the flick starts off somewhat slow like a teenage coming of age movie for about the first 20 to 30 min and then heats up in the middle finishes off with a pretty dramatic open ended conclusion. To put it simply it is basically the first 1 and ½ acts in Red Dawn, with the sequels to follow sometime later this year.

If you liked Red Dawn [and we all know only Commies and Crossdressers don’t love that flick] then you will definitely enjoy Tomorrow When the War Began. After watching it I went ahead and picked up the whole book series and I am looking forward to the sequels.

8.99 Tomorrow, When the War Began (The Book):

Tomorrow, When the War Began (The Book)

21.34 Tomorrow, When the War Began (Blu Ray):

Tomorrow When the War Began [Blu-ray]


~James G
Founder – Editor in Chief

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long; he has traveled to over 50 countries chasing fortune and glory. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and Buying Way Too Many Movies at the Hajji Shop. James G. on FACEBOOK

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  1. In similar news, have you seen they’re remaking Red Dawn…evidently, nothing is sacred anymore, especially in Hollywierd.

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    • Ill bet its filled with anti-conservative messages and no doubt the “TEA PARTY” will be labled as a bunch of nut jobs. I friggin hate liberals.

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  2. I will look For it ! DVM opening up classic Cinematography for the Masses..

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  3. The Red Dawn re-make originally cast the Chinese as the invading army, but someone got “the word” and suddenly it became the North Koreans. Riiiight.

    Thanks for the tip, James – will look up both the flick and the books.

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  4. ..and no Charlie Sheen! Winning!

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  5. HAH! the “Commies and Crossdressers” part made me blow water out my nose and all over my laptop, please warn me not to drink before reading your reviews next time!

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  6. BTW, does anyone know if it’s in theaters here in the states?

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  7. Ha! Just finished the first two books. Will check out the places around here [B-Dad] to try and pick up the film version. Marsden runs it out to 8 books so far, I think.

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  8. I saw this one a few months ago, and I agree with James’ review. Kind of cool, but a lot like Red Dawn. Was not aware they had a book series. May have to try that out.

    i only wish they would come out with a movie for jerry Ahern’s Survivalist series.

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  9. BTW, does anyone know if it’s in theaters here in the states?  

    The movie was released in Australia and similar markets for DVD on Dec 30, 2010. As of yet, there are no set date(s) for release in the United States… I don’t even think it’s going to go to the theatres… Here’s the website I found…

    But, yeah, this looks to be a pretty decent flick…

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    • It’s on Amazon in BluRay for $85 (all areas version)…

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  10. Hot aussie chicks are a plus!

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  11. I’ve probably read those books three times by now.

    I reckon the movie was close enough for a hollywood remake but the books were a lot more realistic. In the books they got around with hunting rifles and break action shotguns which they’d scavenged from their parent’s farms, makes a bit more sense than them kicking around with assault rifles in the first half hour.

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  12. The funny thing is that in 1993 when the first book is set that the Australian government was practically giving the army’s old FN FAL away and every second farmer had 2 or more because they where so cheep

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  13. James just likes this movie because the Asian dude gets a hot Aussie chick. It truly is a work of fiction.

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  14. As an aussie, the movie was really awkward, I couldn’t watch past 30 mins. Though I think that’s because my then Mrs was fanatic about the book series and always yapping on about what she would do…

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    • The Chair is against the wall, John has a long mustasche,

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  15. I recall in the original book that the invaders were Turkish. Correct me if I’m wrong.

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  16. I recall in the original book that the invaders were Turkish. Correct me if I’m wrong.  

    Nah, they were un-named but I think they were of “Asian appearance” from very vague memory.

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  17. Thanks for the heads-up. I watched it this afternoon, and enjoyed it. I thought it was better than Red Dawn.

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  18. “only Commies and Crossdressers don’t love that flick”


    Sounds like a great movie, thank you very much for bringing it to my attention. I’m hitting the DVD shop as we speak.

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  19. Down under has some sick gun control, so that flick will maybe stimulate some new debate. that group of 20 something kids can’t have too much experience with guns considering how they gutted the guns in the content years ago. “he who has the guns makes the rules”

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    • in the book all but one of them are under 18 and in the county most people dont give a flying fuck about the stupid rules that they make up in the city

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  20. The funny thing is that in 1993 when the first book is set that the Australian government was practically giving the army’s old FN FAL away and every second farmer had 2 or more because they where so cheep

    Wow, how times have changed.

    These days about half the folks here “used to shoot”, the other half are gun fearing pussies.

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  21. This is on Netflix now.

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