Man’s Best Friend: Rottweiler (2004)
You hear that? That’s the optimistic sound of a brand new series starting!
Yes, we talk a fair amount about killer animals films here, and one species in particular has managed to savage himself a certain notoriety in cinema: The Killer Dog. There are hundreds of these movies out there, and due to Stephen King’s iconic Cujo they are somewhat of a mainstay of the killer animal genre. Admittedly, most of them are absolute shit on a stick, but there are enough juicy ones to keep the tail wagging.
Anyhow, first up is Brian Yuzna’s 2004 effort Rottweiler. I am promised unstoppable killer cyborg dogs in a mixed up dystopian future, and as Yuzna is directing, then there should be buckets of gore and more tits than a bird sanctuary.
Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell Yuzna this. Rottweiler is a terrible movie. The premise should be worth its weight in gold, and it initially opens in a reasonably promising way. We’re introduced to Dante (William Miller), who due to a bizarre scorpion related mishap has managed to escape from the slammer. He’s hunted down by a lone bounty hunter whose name I fail to remember and his large Rottweiler. So far, so good. However, in a painful twist, it turns out that this is actually neo-fascist Spain (not a lot has changed, actually) and Dante is trying to get to some city called Puerto Angel to find his beloved girlfriend Ula (Irene Montalà) who he has inexplicably managed to lose. To make matters worse for Dante, he’s suffering from that hacks tool of choice amnesia. Anyhow, Dante shoots the dog and the bounty hunter and goes on with his journey. Except the dog isn’t dead, no, fool, you cannot kill ROBOPUPPY with a mere bullet. So, the rest of the film has him being plagued by Terminator dog as well before a showdown with the fascist leader and it all collapses in on itself in a series of flashbacks and an utter miasma of boredom and irritation.
This film sucks balls, frankly. It, actually, more than a little bit pisses me off. Yuzna does throw in some gratuitous juggs, and curse him for it, because they appear at the half way stage and gave me hope that the film would improve just when I was ready to turn it off. There are so many fucking problems here that I don’t really know where to begin. The storyline is hopelessly confused, the acting inept, the direction all over the fucking place and the effects are lousy.
Let’s start with the fact that it’s set in the near future, purely so we can have a cyborg dog, yet the damned film looks like it was shot last week in El Ejido (nouveau riche town in Andalusia). Possibly because it was shot recently in Spain. Take, for example, his encounter with the mother and daughter in the desert. He pitches up at a building that looks like one of those old goat sheds that you see in the Spaghetti Westerns. They, apparently, live there and even hang their fucking washing outside. There’s no indication that the damned place has either electricity or running water. There’s nothing at all in this film that remotely suggests that this is a mixed up crazy future- there are no signs of high technology, and no thought put in to making it seem a bit more advanced than it is. Aside from the robodoggy, of course, but he’s almost in it as an afterthought.
Which is the big problem of the film. If I’m promised something about an unstoppable killing canine machine, then I damned well want an unstoppable killing canine machine. I do not want to sit there in a state of mild boredom following a complete arsehole with an inexplicable haircut around bits of Spain that flirt with being third world as he tries to overcome his amnesia. The film is basically a series of terminally boring encounters between Dante and some completely dull characters, who invariably get killed in boring ways by the dog soon after he meets them. It’s fucking boring, to be honest, and there’s nowhere near enough cyborg puppy action. Basically the crime here is that the angry dog has been reduced to an almost omnipresent threat. It’s there, but never does anything really, and worse than that, him being chased by the dog is little more than a sideplot to the main meat of the film. Seriously, replace the dog with La Guardia Civil armed with nightsticks and you have precisely the same fucking movie. That’s a cardinal sin in my book.
The second problem is that the main meat of the story, the douchbag with amnesia, is astronomically, monumentally, excruciatingly uninteresting. He’s also, partially because of the character and partially because of the performance, hugely unsympathetic and we just don’t give a fuck about his quest. If he was less of a mopey ringpiece of a human being then I might, but he isn’t, so I don’t. He’s a complete cunt, actually, on more than one occasion. Miller isn’t much cop as the lead, and Montala is even less cop in the flashbacks (which are about as informative as the message in a fortune cookie) so the film just dies on its arse completely. It doesn’t help that the majority of the motivation for the characters is incoherent- fascist boss, for example, has set cyborg puppy on him because its fun. No, cuntybaws, it isn’t fun. It’s boring. However, to be fair, he’s only done this because they broke into Puerto Angel because they thought that would be fun. I can’t see why they thought that, PA is a right shithole.
Finally, there are what passes for Special Effects in this film. Yuzna is usually a dab hand with these- the twisted people in Society are fan-fucking-tastic. Except he seems to have had some ginormous brainfart and decided to make the Rottweiler out of CGI. This does not work, at all. The pooch makeup in the early stages of the film was quiet good, but when it emerges from the (CGI) flame as a metal skeleton at the end it just reeks of failure, not dissimilar to the smell when a dog shits on your carpet.
Overall, this film is wank. It’s a giant pile of dogshit and a less than auspicious start to a new series. On the plus side, the only way now is up, but I feel more than a little bitter that I sat through what is clearly a fantastic schlocky premise to be served up some half-baked science fiction claptrap with an interest rate not dissimilar to the non-existent one I get on my savings. Yuzna seems to be in serious decline recently, and I suggest he gets his ass back to Herb West and undead cunt Dr. Hill pronto, as that’s far more his forte than some of the massively aggravating shite he’s turned out since. Go on Brian, give us Re-Animator IN SPACE. You know you want to.
Apparently, having just been reading up on it, I’m being dense, as it turns out the dog is half ghost. Not that you could work that out from the film. That makes it an Undead-Robot-killer dog and thus even more of a fucking waste. I actually want to smack Yuzna across the snout with a rolled up newspaper for this. So, next up, to cheer myself up, I’m taking one of the titans of the genre walkies- it’s time to look at the big dog in the series: Cujo.
Rubbish film this. Still, a nice open ended series to look at every now and again.
Sounds like a waste of time. How can the dog be “half ghost”? Correct me if I’m wrong here, but being a ghost is a pretty definitive lifestyle choice. There are no half efforts or compromises.
Complete waste of time.
The half-ghost is because the other half is cyborg. Basically, in one of the flashbacks, which I’d completely purged from my memory, he meets an old African who tells him he’s surrounded by an evil mist. He kills the dog, the mist rolls in and the dog re-activates. I misunderstood this, thinking that the computer had just rebooted, but it was raised by spirits.
Explaining it just makes it sound worse.
Especially considering I missed it when I saw the film. Awful.
I’ve seen this..prolly on syfy channel…it’s really a POS. Strangely, I sort of remember the ghost dog bit, but it doesn’t make any sense..
Yuzna has lost it badly…I watched one of his lately called Amphibious or something–again a monster that’s part beast and part hokey spirit-thing—and it was so bad I turned it off.
That’s depressing. I think he lost it round about Beyond.
Please tell me you plan on reviewing Man’s Best Friend, Devil Dog, Zoltan, Hound of Dracula, Atomic Dog, They Only Kill Their Masters, Monster Dog….etc.
I believe that was the plan when we were first discussing the series.
Yup. Almost all of them that I can get hold of. I’ve got a whole list.
I think there is a french film called Baxter about a killer dog too
Baxter is, no pun intended, a very different beast from those other films. It’s an odd story about a bull terrier whose thoughts we hear looking for the ‘perfect’ master for him, who after murdering or plotting his way through a few of them, lands in the care of a boy who idealizes the Nazi’s and Baxter gets a bit more than he bargained for. It’s rather hard to watch actually.
Bart, did you just mention Monster Do starring Alice Cooper? Oh, dear god…
Monster Dog is listed above there in my list… Kind of deceptive though, since it’s just a werewolf movie really..
and it’s epic in its horribleness…almost hypnotic really.
Jarv, you should have photoshopped that dog giving the thumbs up in the exoskeleton picture
Didn’t even occur to me.
I actually think he should have used this image for his ranking:
Egads, this sounds horrendous. 1/2 ghost, 1/2 cyborg…100% shit.
A monster cyborg ghost dog?
How did Yuzna manage to fuck that one up?
Are you doing Digby The Biggest Dog In The World as well?
Inexplicable. Yet he did.
Hadn’t considered Digby.
You, me, Conti Pops (esp Conti Pops)-all deserve Digby. Jarv go for it.
Two recommendations I don’t think people have made yet: White Dog by Sam Fuller, and the Pack starring Joe Don Baker.
How bout the killer wore a collar from ’76?
AKA what Conti Jest said.
Seeing as how Conti already mentioned WHITE DOG,
how about two other colored ‘Killer’ dog flicks?
BIG RED and OLD YELLER!
I’m still unclear on how the dog can be half ghost half machine. At any point in the movie did they play The Police’s song Spirit’s in the Material World off of Ghost in the Machine? if not that was an opportunity missed.
I watched it, and it doesn’t make sense to me either.
I think the ghostly mist bought his animal bits/ half back to life. Makes no sense at all.
fair enough I’ll just chalk it up to the movie being bad.
I can’t be clear enough about this- when I watched it, I didn’t at all realise that that is what was happening, and I wouldn’t have known until I was looking up where it was shot on the internets and saw that.
It’s entirely the film’s fault.
Ghost Dog – a fine flick starring Forrest Whitaker.
Best/worst Rotty in a flick award goes to The Omen – lots of wired up teeth baring over acting.
The best killer dog? Well duh, Toadkillerdog!
Talking about which, how is rufus? I’d have thought your absence would constitute a drying out program for the old bugger.
That knucklehead has gone through rehab three times!
It is a lost cause – ever since he broke into the Gin bottles as a puppy, he has been hooked.
Hey, have you seen Expendables? i finally checked it out this weekend.
It was neither as bad as i feared it would be nor as good as I thought it could be. Just sort of middle of the road.
Expendables was OK.
Here’s controversial: A-Team>Expendables.
That’s not controversial. That’s pretty much universally agreed upon. And by universally, I mean the world of WotM.
Only opinions that matter.
I totally agree with that. Ateam was better than Expendables. Had more laughs more enjoyable set pieces and less bad acting
Doesn’t Koutch love The Expendables. I thought it was a bit meh to be honest.
Yeah it goes Expendables > A-Team > Losers > Red. Expendables just works the best all around, the whole cartel scouting scene/port explosion is the best action set piece out of all of them, yeah there is some dumb shit in Expendables but it’s the most fun and everyone looks excited to be there. A-Team the helio heist is the only action scene that fully comes together all the other goofy shit doesn’t fully work and I never really bought that they all even liked each other, given on the day I watch either two they could flip flop though. Losers outside of The Human Torch blows, you think Zac Synder doesn’t understand slo mo…..see that movie jesus I think if you took all the slo mo out of that fucking thing it would be about 40 minutes long. Red just fucking blew, I may have to watch it again but the fucking thing didn’t seem to make a lick of sense and all of the jokes fell flat. I watched it with my mom who wasn’t falling asleep and was laughing, afterward I asked her some questions and she had no fucking clue what the movie was about she just liked it “because of all the famous people in it.”
The biggest issue with all four though is the villains they all blow, and they all should’ve been a lot more fun (well except for the A-Team, who the fuck was the bad guy in that movie?) and at least Stone Cold was really good as the villain’s heavy. Lights in Losers blew, and Jason P wasn’t doing it for me, really I don’t remember Loser at all god that movie sucked. (now if I was the director of that movie, that last sentence would’ve been in slow mo just because he can)
The one thing I give Stallone credit for – is that he is not afraid to show himself losing a fight. Go all the way back to Rocky. i just watched demolition man as well, and in expendables and he lost all of those fights.
Now, rambo was a different story – he never lost
Rambo has the coat of invulnerability though. And I’m sure he lost the odd fight in First Blood.
I hope there aren’t any more Rambo films.
Been a while since I last saw First Blood, but I recall really liking it.
Ahhh toad’s Dawg Killer back from the South Seas(TM).
I was thinking about your love of giant robots while I watched Spaceballs again. I had totally forgotten that the spaceball ship transforms into a giant robot maid with a vacuum cleaner! Surely the very first big screen version of a transformer
She’s gone from suck to blow!
R2! ha! yes that was a great line. Too bad she looked like Joan Rivers -pre and post op
Ha ha I remember that….Spaceballs is so-so, Zuniga is the best thing about it.
I love that movie! When they are combing the desert.
“You guys find anything?”
“We aint found shit!”
“KEEP FIRING ASSHOLES”