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2010 will feel like an '80s film flashback

The movie studios have lined up their slates for the new year and a theme is emerging: The 1980s are back.

That doesn't necessarily mean shoulder pads and the Lambada, but it does mean a slew of remakes and sequels from a decade still remembered for its prosperity and optimism (unlike, say, the one we just lived through). Hollywood loves to make new versions of old favorites - expect to see "The Karate Kid" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street" this year - but times have changed, and so have audiences.

Take "Red Dawn," the 1984 quasi-classic about a group of teenagers (Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and C. Thomas Howell) who band together after communist forces invade America. Cold War audiences found the scenario compelling, but how will the remake, due in November, address today's fears of shadowy terrorists and lone bombers?

Or take Oliver Stone's "Wall Street 2," scheduled for April, with Michael Douglas reincarnating the finance king Gordon Gekko and Shia LaBeouf playing a young go-getter. The 1987 original made Gekko a popular antihero (almost on par with Al Pacino's Scarface) because we secretly agreed with his motto, "Greed is good." Now we've lost our homes to people like him.

Even Disney's 1982 video-game oddity "Tron" is getting a sequel, titled "Tron: Legacy," with Jeff Bridges once again playing a software engineer trapped in a cyber-world. The computer-aided special effects were groundbreaking at the time - remember those Light Cycles? - but here's something to keep in mind: The 3-D sequel is due Dec. 17, almost a year to the day after the release of "Avatar."

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