Black Dog Reviews
I've never been too much of a Patrick Swayze fan, mostly because I don't think he can act that well. He has some charisma, for sure, but the only movie I've really enjoyed him in prior to this was ROAD HOUSE. Here, he doesn't get that kind of a role to play, but thankfully the supporting players pick up the slack and make the movie worth watching. Of those cast members, the most entertaining were Meat Loaf as a Bible-quoting madman, and Charles Dutton and Stephen Tobolowsky as a bickering FBI and ATF agent, respectively. Their short scene that opens the film is, in my opinion, the best part and sort of sets the tone for what follows, at least when they're onscreen. Randy Travis also has a supporting role, but all they can do with him is make jokes and references to his real-life career as a country singer.
In general, the acting was decent for this type of movie. The action, of course, was well-done. By virtue of being produced before Hollywood became obsessed with CGI and shaky-cam, this film features real stunts, real explosions and crisp, clean action sequences done with some flair. Yes, having cars and trucks explode on impact in a collision is ridiculous, but it's also ridiculously entertaining to watch. Most importantly, the truck-driving sequences were filmed in an interesting way, and actually on the highway. Other positives I can think of are a suitably bombastic score and some gentle soundtrack cuts courtesy of Randy Travis. I don't really care for country music, but he's one person I can tolerate.
The negative aspects I can mention are all fairly standard for the genre. There's a lot of plot holes, story threads that aren't followed up on (or at least satisfactorily), and of course the premise. Part of this can be chalked up to the run time. At 89 minutes, it is a little light on story and character development, but then again it didn't exactly need to be complex. Overall, this was much more fun than I was anticipating. It's by no means a good movie, but it's pretty entertaining for what it is. When all is said and done, there's a lot worse ways to spend your time. Also, they do explain what the title means, in case you were wondering.
also stars Gabriel Casseus, Brian Vincent, Brenda Strong, Graham Beckel, Stephen Tobolowsky and Charles S. Dutton.
directed by Kevin Hooks.
It's sorely lacking in the whimsical exaggeration that made so many of his earlier cheese-fests such winners, and the direction is clunky. Kevin Hooks got his start directing television episodes, and judging from most of his theatrical features, TV is clearly where he belongs. Granted it doesn't help your action film when all of the chase scenes involve big rigs topping out around 45 miles per hour.
The story is a collection of cliches assembled from other films, and I firmly believe that this does not contain one original thought or line of dialogue. Swayze himself is disappointing as well with his Terminator haircut, as he does not appear to be in on the joke. The bad guys are dull and uninteresting as well, with only Meatloaf showing some life here, but he's not very menacing. The picture is not fun at all, yet it's impossible to take him seriously.
You have to kind of admire a film that is this brain-dead, but did "Black Dog" really have to be this dull too? It just goes to show you that the Swayze magic for turning the ridiculous into pure cinematic gold does have its limitations.