A Review By Jason L. King
Starring: Patrick Swayze, Meat Loaf, Randy Travis, Charles S. Dutton
Directed by: Kevin Hooks
Rated: PG-13 for intense scenes of action violence, and for language.
Movie Released: 1998
With the sad passing of Patrick Swayze this week, I thought it would only be fitting for Box Office Boredom.com to do a review of a Swayze film. The most fitting of course would be Dirty Dancing, Point Break, Roadhouse or even Dirty Dancing Havana Nights (yes, he did have a cameo in it as the crypt keeper looking dance instructor) but we are not that classy of a site. As I looked through Swayze films I stumbled upon a film called Black Dog, a film that is fueled with so much Mack Truck testosterone that it can only be rivaled by Stallone’s Over The Top, or Spielberg’s Duel.
Sent to prison years ago for vehicular manslaughter, former truck driver Jack Cruise (Swayze) is now working odd jobs in a truck shop to make ends meet. But when his family’s home is foreclosed upon he takes a one time, off the books truck driving job for some quick cash. Little does he know his load is a stockpile of illegal arms being tracked by the FBI and a crazed rival trucking company (headed up by actor Meat Loaf) who wants nothing more than to hijack Cruise’s load.
There is something about this film that is so laughable it is actually fun. What is even scarier is I remember watching this years ago. I think it was on TV as one of those Sunday night movies on ABC or something. (You see, I grew up in a house with 4 channels -the network ones…No cable…Gahhh!). Anyhow, I didn’t think it was as bad then as I do now. The film either doesn’t stand up to the test of time or never really did in the first place. Where this film goes astray is the pacing and plot of the film. Everything is way too predictable, and as a viewer you feel like you are 100 IQ points above everyone in the film. Meat Loaf plays the crazy mastermind behind hijacking the truck and hams it up a bit too much for the camera. His bible quoting crazy rants make no sense and don’t fit into the movie at all (other than a stab at deep southern Georgia folk). Country music star Randy Travis appears in the film as Swayze’s reluctant driving partner and plays the role of a truck driver and wanna be song writer that can’t sing (there is something funny about having him play someone who is tone deaf).
The film is a mess it doesn’t make sense. Once again, the FBI just simply repeatedly drops the ball and disregards protocol for some crazy scheme, lets everyone off the hook so they can live happily ever after and somehow allows a crazed Meat Loaf one more chance to attempt to kill Swayze as the film closes. The place is surrounded by cops!! How do they not know he is there????? Anyhow, it ends in a trucker against trucker “Redneck off” where they race big rigs through a shipping yard swarmed with cops minutes ago. (although now, the cops have vanished to advance this action scene?) Just as quickly as the action starts, it also ends and credits roll. – what a weird way of ending.
All in all, I went into this film with low expectations. I expected B movie quality and that is what I got. It’s like watching a made for TV movie, or a full length movie of Walker Texas Ranger (go Chuck Norris!). It’s got thrills, spills, chills, truck driving action, and Swayze laying the smack down on rednecks in big rigs. It’s really not worth the rental unless you are looking for something really mindless and are in for a good laugh at the uber cheese factor.
Rest in Peace Patrick Swayze!!!
For those interested, this film is available to watch for free at HULU.COM at the time of posting.