Written by: Alejandro Rodriguez, Special to CC2K
With a name like Dog Soldiers, three possible storylines jumped to mind.
- A DreamWorks Animation movie about a group of dogs who take down “the Man” in order to save their family’s farm from being bought out by a sleazeball multi-millionaire who wants to turn it into, I don’t know, a whore-house; starring Ashton Kutcher as Scruffy the leader.
- A movie about a bunch of inner city kids who decide to take back the streets from the pimps and drug dealers in order to make a difference. Yet, instead of pulling out the weapons and fighting one another they either
- Free-style rap
- Dance or
- Express themselves with their angry urban poetry.
All of which will get people on their side and help them take back the streets; starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as their wise teacher. And finally
- The military is on the brink of losing a war against the Soviets, and decides that the only way to win is if they use the power of the werewolf. America’s only hope now lies in the hands of a special breed of soldier. Now it’s the Soviets vs. the American werewolves; starring Christian Bale as the rookie and Kurt Russell as the hardened veteran whose family left him because he was too dedicated to the job.
This movie…is not one of those (although C would be the closest). Instead, Dog Soldiers is about a team of Scottish soldiers (Or are they English?) who go on a run-of-the-mill training exercise in the forest. (Because, you know, that’s where all the crazy terrorists hang out nowadays!) Along the way they call each other twats and laugh over how lame the training is, all the while complaining about how they’re missing the big football game (Soccer, for those of us who don’t “speak” British). It isn’t until later that they eventually get attacked by angry werewolves in the forest (who may be possible terrorists). They get rescued by a tree hugger lady and end up in a home in the middle of the woods. Sounds awesome, right? It’s not.
The film is either a cliché or a blatant rip-off (pronounced “homage” for you Quentin Tarantino fans) of every horror and action move that ever came before it. I mean it’s technically Evil Dead with werewolves instead of demons. It’s just not as funny or entertaining as Evil Dead and it has less chainsaws than what I would have wanted. Still, everything is either taken out of a previous action movie or from a horror movie from the 80s. It’s fun to see where all the winks at other films are while you are watching Dog Soldiers. I mean, if you’d like to waste a rental on this movie…
Now I’m a pretty big fan of movies that are either over the top or just plain batshit crazy, but Dog Soldiers never really goes over the edge. It plays it safe and hopes that people will take it seriously. Listen: Your movie is about a bunch of soldiers who fight off werewolves (Terrorists?) in order to just stay alive. This is not the sort of subject matter that people are going to be discussing sincerely afterward, so don’t act like it. The important thing to consider is that, since your film isn’t super scary and it’s not action-packed, why not go completely over the top and add something even crazier? I suggest the humans create robots to kill the werewolves, and then Skynet gains sentience…
Speaking of robots and computers, this movie contains absolutely no CGI. So for anyone who is stuck in the 80s, THIS MOVIE IS FOR YOU! The director felt that CGI was being used so much in Hollywood that it became played out. And to the movie’s merit you probably couldn’t even tell if you saw the movie. The werewolves may look a bit funky since they are really just guys walking on stilts, but since the make-up is rather above average you can’t help but to cheer for joy at the fact that a horror movie can be made in this day an age without some amateur CGI. You win this round Dog Soldiers, but the next shall be mine.
I’m not going to lie, since watching this movie I’ve grown somewhat of a love-hate relationship with it. I love that it has werewolves in it, but I hate that I love the movie because of that. This at the end of the day means I hate myself. Think about that for a while; it’s not a pretty thing. I’m sure if the producers bought the Blacula franchise and decided to make this Werewolves vs. Blampires (If anyone can think of a better word for black vampires, tell me.) this movie would have been super cult status. This could cause controversy as it would show werewolves in a negative light. I mean, werewolves can’t be racist, can they? Anyway, that would kick ass and I wouldn’t have to feel ashamed for liking it then. But you have failed Dog Soldiers and for that you must die!
P.S. To anyone who ever does an April Fools Week feature do not watch the movie with commentary. Any hate you have for the movie will immediately run out the door and you’ll feel like the people who made this deserve a medal and several million dollars. I watched the movie with commentary right after I saw the movie and now I can’t bitch about how lame the werewolves looked or how you couldn’t understand a damn thing the actors say with an English friend of yours telling you what the hell the slang they’re saying means. Commentary is bad, remember that.