Howell, who starred as a young resistance fighter taking on a Russian invasion in the 1984 cult classic, feels that the enemy in the version storming theaters now falls short.
Red Dawn 2012 -- which stars Josh Hutcherson and Chris Hemsworth -- originally featured China as an enemy but filmmakers changed it to North Korea post production.
"Quite frankly, we all know North Korea cannot afford to invade (itself).How is that going to happen?" asks Howell. "That's already stupid in my book.
"There are already some fundamental differences that are a little funky," he says of the new movie, which he had not seen when he spoke to USA TODAY last week. "Maybe there's good acting, maybe there's some great dialogue so we can all overlook that giant leap that any Asian can play any Asian and it doesn't matter -- just (change by computer) any flag on there and get the movie out. I think it's pretty ridiculous. if you really want to know the truth."
Red Dawn producer Tripp Vinson says the current enemy needed to be changed from the Russians since, obviously, "the politics of the world are different today."
But why the further switch? Chinese foes were changed to North Korean after the film was completed and distributor MGM became bogged down by financial problems before the film's original 2010 release. As the producers looked for new distribution, they felt their efforts were hampered with the Chinese enemy.
"The movie was changed because we couldn't get distribution for the movie from any of the distributors here," says Vinson. "They didn't want to offend the Chinese, I am assuming."
Howell was part of the 1984 film's cast which included Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and Jennifer Grey. He believes an enemy like Al-Qaeda would have made a better modern enemy for a reboot "instilling some fear, and being clever."
Nonetheless, he plans on seeing the new Red Dawn, which opened Wednesday.
"I don't know how it's going to hold up," says Howell. "But I'm going to go see it and I'm looking forward to seeing it. And I hope it's awesome."
(Copyright © 2012 USA TODAY)