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Movie Review

Black Dog

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense scenes of action violence, and for language

Reviewed by: Bob Thompson

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
96 min.
Year of Release:

Starring: Patrick Swayze, Meat Loaf, Randy Travis, Stephen Tobolowsky / Director: Kevin Hooks / Released by: Universal Studios

“Black Dog” is a slam-bang action movie! This one grabs you in the first few seconds with an intense inner-city car chase and holds your interest throughout. This is a typical action movie for action’s sake. Combine that with a family kidnapping situation, and this movie may be one made more for the guys than the ladies.

Cruz (Patrick Swayze) just wants to hold on to one thing: his dream. All he wants is to make an honest living and keep his house and his family. But things quickly get complicated, and Cruz is confronted at work with an offer to drive a semi-tractor load of goods. Then, Cruz faces a foreclosure notice on his house. Under financial pressure, he decides to take the job against his wife’s prudent warning, “the last time you said one more load, and we’ll be OK—we weren't.”

This film is also about trucking. It’s about driving—good and bad. Country singer Randy Travis plays a country singer “wanna be,” whose character captures some of this aspect of the film. It’s also a movie about a funny conflict between the FBI agent (Charles Dutton) and the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) agent (Ted Sobolowsky).

“Black Dog” relies on a series of intense action-packed chase scenes (truck explosions, etc.) Other film violence takes place at Cruz' residence. Knowing that Cruz is basically honest, Cruz’s corrupt boss goes to his house accompanied by a brutal henchman. When Cruz learns what he is really hauling (an illegal shipment), he calls it quits. But it’s too late… they have his wife and daughter at gun-point.

For its genre, “Black Dog” has much to offer. There is some profanity, but it’s not excessive, and there is very little blood and gore. In a move all-to-common from Hollywood, the evil boss is a portrayed as a fanatical, Bible-quoting Jesus freak. This may be the most offensive material in this action flick. Taking all of this into account, “Black Dog” is most appropriate for older teens to adult. Not only is there explosions galore, but you’ll be educated as to what truckers mean by the phrase “BLACK DOG”!

Viewer Comments
A forgettable yet fairly harmless action flick. Some good chase and crash scenes on the highway with semi pursuing semi. This lasts about 30 minutes. I guess the budget didn’t allow for more. Fortunately, the movie is only 90 minutes long. Although Hollywood seems abysmal at putting together deep or inspiring characters in its movies, at least the main character in Black Dog has a moral motive and kinda gets in over his head by accident. Randy Travis adds a tad of humour as well. Meatloaf looks true to life in his anti-christian role. Not a brilliant movie, but there’s a lot worse out there.
—Todd Adams, age 30
“BLACK DOG” was a leave your brain at home action movie. Why did meatloaf try to hijack a load of guns he already had? Randy Travis was very good, being able to act like he could’nt sing was what I call a real stretch. meatloafs bible quoting pyscho was not that great, why would someone who knew God’s word so well be so out there. I will say this it was better than a lot of movies out these days.
—Bill Keeney, age 44