This actually holds up reasonably well despite its very dated subject matter. I fully admit that I was mostly expecting a very cheesy, if not down right awful, 80s teen action movie. Instead it actually felt like they handled the subject matter with a surprising amount of thought and elegance while still being very much an entertaining action movie. In hindsight the wide acclaim and popularity is easy to understand, and I really wouldn’t mind re-watching this again relatively soon. I don’t usually like prologues that use heavy exposition to explain the plot of the movie to you, as I tend to find them very dull, but here is one instance where it’s actually done right. The movie benefited greatly from the intro segment explaining how NATO was now dissolved and America stood alone against the communist threat, because you very efficiently got a clear picture of the overall global political situation and thus the movie could immediately start with the invasion, instead of wasting time building up to it. The entire invasion sequence itself was also executed so fast and well that it earned your undivided attention for the rest of the movie.
What really appealed to me was that they do a pretty good job of showcasing the cast mature as the movie progresses. They very believably go from being a bunch of clueless high school kids living in the woods forth a month, hiding from the invaders, to growing up as experienced and battle hardened guerrilla fighters who are getting effective results in their campaign of terror against the red army. And not only that, the movie also manages to remember to showcase that despite being a hardened underground resistance force, they are all still very much kids at heart when they are allowed to forget the war for a second. The only complaint that I have is that the ambush twist at the end kinda doesn’t work, the betrayal lacks proper impact because due to the time constraints you don’t get to know the entire group intimately enough to be shocked by the turn of events. All in all, the original being this good, it really makes me more wearisome of even considering to watch the remake with Chris Hemsworth, and how bad has to be in comparison.