Nicholas Cage and his nouveau shamanism are back on the screen for director Tim Brown in The Retirement Plan from Falling Forward Films.
Channing Tatum excels in the enjoyable Dog
Channing Tatum returns to the big screen for a crowd-pleasing gem in Dog from United Artists Releasing. In addition to starring in the film, Tatum co-directs with Reid Carolin as both men make their respective feature directorial debut.
A buddy comedy, Dog, follows the misadventures of two former Army Rangers paired against their will on the road trip of a lifetime. Army Ranger Briggs (Tatum) and Lulu (a Belgian Malinois dog) buckle up into a 1984 Ford Bronco and race down the Pacific Coast in hopes of making it to a fellow soldier’s funeral on time. Along the way, they will drive each other completely crazy, break a small handful of laws, narrowly evade death, and eventually learn to let down their guards to have a fighting chance of finding happiness.
Anyone that knows me will attest to two facts; I am proud of my military service, and I am not an animal fan. However, I did marry a woman who loves animals and finds Tatum irresistible, so it was a given that I was going to see Dog at some point. The film, while fictional, is based in reality and takes the meat of its story from the 2017 HBO documentary, War Dog: A Soldier’s Best Friend.
When we first meet Briggs, he is down on his luck and working in a sandwich shop, hoping to return to the war and his former glory as a private contractor. However, Brigg’s medical issues are causing a roadblock. Kudos to Reid Carolin for effectively tapping into what many veterans go through once they get out of the service. I also credit the writer for establishing that Briggs and Lulu already had a relationship through their former battle buddy, but now have to come together on their own.
Tatum brings a relatable everyman persona to the role of Briggs that even if you never served, you can identify with his moves as he looks to accomplish his mission.
As Dog is a road trip movie, for the most part, the supporting cast is neglected in the background as Briggs encounters different people on his journey, which leads to some awesome extended cameos. These cameos include the likes of Kevin Nash, Jane Adams, and Ethan Suplee, all of whom play a vital role in Brigg’s journey to redemption.
Co-directors Tatum and Carolin keep the film’s running time short and keep the pace moving. While Dog may come across as formulaic to some, its heart is in the right place, and for that alone, I recommend the film.
Final Grade: B
Dog is in theaters now and is also available On Demand
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