Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Radar is a dog movie that deserves no bones

Family entertainment takes a step back from director Scott Vandiver and writer April Smallwood in R.A.D.A.R.: THE ADVENTURES OF THE BIONIC DOG from Lionsgate. Gabe (Ezra James Lerario) and Kylie (Caroline Abrams) embark on a treasure hunt to find a pirate’s lost treasure, which Gabe’s mother used to tell him stories about. They aim to attract more tourists to their quiet town and help Gabe’s mom’s diner. Along the way, they come across a blue sapphire and meet R.A.D.A.R., a brilliant robot dog. 

However, Dr. Van Hook (Paul Wilson), the scientist who created the bionic dog, intends to take him back and steal the town’s famous gem, and two recently escaped convicts aid him. Can Gabe and Kylie safeguard their new robotic furry friend, protect the gem, and save their town from the goons?

There’s nothing wrong with family movies. Generally, I try not to give movies a bad rap that I’m not in a demographic of. However, nothing is above feedback, and when the criticism is due will provide it. As a passionate moviegoer, I entered the theater with cheerful anticipation, ready to be entertained by the superhero antics of Radar the Bionic Dog. However, disappointment befell me like a leaden rain cloud as the film failed to deliver on the most basic levels of storytelling, character development, and visual effects.

First and foremost, the plot could be smoother. Instead of a coherent narrative, the movie is a patchwork of poorly sewn-together scenes, needing a central thread to tie them together. The writing is unimaginative, relying heavily on hackneyed clichés, trite dialogue, and predictable scenarios that have been overused in countless films before.

The characters in Radar the Bionic Dog are as thin as a dog’s shadow, with no depth or compelling arcs to engage viewers. The protagonist, Radar, is an emotionless hunk of metal, void of any personality or charm. There is no investment in his journey or relationship with the humans around him; the interactions feel forced and devoid of authenticity.

The cast’s performances were lackluster, possibly due to the uninspired script. They were collecting a paycheck instead of investing in their roles. Radar, the Bionic Dog, looks unrealistic due to poor CGI. The action sequences lack engagement.

The film also suffers from pacing issues that drive the already tedious experience even more excruciating. Scenes are either too long or too short, resulting in a jumbled rhythm that further frustrates and disengages the viewer. It becomes clear that the editors and director needed to learn how to effectively tell the story, leaving the audience grappling with disjointed fragments.

Radar the Bionic Dog is a poorly made family film with a mundane plot, weak characters, unimpressive acting, bad CGI, and terrible execution. 

Final Grade: D+

Radar, the Bionic Dog, is available to rent on Amazon.

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