Eddie Birdlace: Oh, no problem. Just a man with a mission.
Rose: What mission?
Eddie Birdlace: You and me, against the pricks. Are you with me?
Birdlace es un marine que está a punto de ser enviado a Vietnam, decide junto a sus amigos de hacer una ultima apuesta... el soldado que logre una cita con la chica mas fea gana. Con sus encantos, Birdlace logra seducir Rosie, pero no espera recibir una de esas lecciones que no se aprende en la guerra.
Dogfight es una de esas películas que no tiene mayores sorpresas. Si, sabemos desde el principio que Birdlace y Rosie van a terminar enamorándose, también sabemos que Birdlace inevitablemente va a terminar zarpando a Vietnam, y que este va a ser uno de esos romances que terminan siendo interrumpidos, pero a pesar de esto la historia y el carisma de sus personajes te mantiene interesado y es una película encantadora, que por 1hr y media te permite soñar y te recuerda la nostalgia de esas películas de los 90s te involucran emocionalmente a pesar de la cursilería.
Es una lastima que River Phoenix haya fallecido tan joven. Era uno de esos raros actores los cuales eran tan encantadores que no podías dejar de mirarlo, algo así como Marlon Brando o James Dean, y Lili Taylor con esa inocencia y bondad que te conquistan, y una de las cosas que me agrado es que ella no es una mujer convencionalmente atractiva, y no trataron de embellecerla para que Birdlace se enamore de ella, sino que lo que lo conquisto fue justamente esas cualidades que la hacían especial.
Of the bunch, "Dogfight" is most interested in Eddie Birdlace (River Phoenix), a follower who seems to have the best set of morals in his friend group. As the pals split to go find their "dogs," Eddie stumbles upon Rose (Lili Taylor), who is plain but certainly not ugly. The folksy daughter of a restauranteur, Rose, shy but kindhearted, is, understandably, unaware of the machinations that underline Eddie's asking her out. Never having been on a date in her life, let alone receiving interest from the opposite sex, she is ecstatic, having a fun night out until she learns the truth.
Rose is humiliated, but Eddie, unexpectedly, figures himself to be drawn to her. Desperate to cheer her up and get to know her better before he becomes a full-time Marine again, he asks her out again, this time with sincerity. Reluctantly, she accepts. Within the few hours they have, the twosome spend the rest of the night together, having "Before Sunrise"-esque talks that eventually lead to them becoming bedfellows. But there's something special to be found in this brief courtship - Eddie gives Rose the romantic experience she's never received but has always wanted, and Rose provides Eddie with a newfound maturity that may very well erase his cockiness for sensitivity.
I want to call "Dogfight" minor, as it's been twenty-five since its release and few remember it, and as it's nothing new in terms of young love depicted in the movies. But there's something deeply stirring about it; is it the way Taylor and Phoenix's connection feels genuine, the way we fall in love with Taylor idiosyncrasies, the way Phoenix's performance feels layered in the way that it reflects how young men put on a devil-may-care front to disguise a vulnerable epicenter? "Dogfight" remarkably makes these characters vividly pragmatic, our time with them feeling all too brief because we learn to care about them so immensely. But that only works as yet another reason why "Dogfight" is so rousing - it makes the preciousness of Eddie and Rose's night together ache magnificently. An optimistic ending suggests that more is in store for them, which is a gratifying surprise for a film so repeatedly somber.
So maybe "Dogfight" is minor, meant to be forgotten like all the other passing romances of a bygone era. But uncover what it has to offer and you'll be stunned by how much it moves you; Phoenix and Taylor, two underrated performers of their generation, make for an unconventional pairing worth rooting for. It is a subtle, melancholy, but wildly sweet romantic film of delicate renown. Shame Eddie lost the dogfight, though.