REVIEW: Black Dog (1998) Blu-Ray – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: Black Dog (1998) Blu-Ray

Here’s another movie that was savaged by critics back in the day (and ever since).  An action movie that cares little for story and lots for big engines and old school stunts aplenty.  Can you believe this movie is sitting at 10% on Rotten Tomatoes?  It’s not the greatest action movie ever, but it isn’t that bad.  In fact, by today’s B-movie action standards, where Voltage Pictures and WWE pump out fetid trash like slurry into a river, this movie has aged quite well.  Yep, I’d call ‘Black Dog’, starring manly man Patrick ‘Pain don’t hurt’ Swayze a good old fashioned manly movie.

You’re not going to give this movie any special awards for its story.  A manly man, Patrick Swayze, just wants to keep his head down and forget his criminal past so that he can provide for his wife and daughter.  But his house is headed for foreclosure and ends most certainly are not meeting.  So when a crooked boss offers him some off the books work, using his trucking skills to haul suspect goods across a 15 hour journey, he can’t really say no.  He’ll get $10,000 if it works out, but if he’s caught…  Of course, singer ‘Meatloaf’ is on the trail of the truck, with a posse of gun totin’ rednecks, he wants to hijack the booty, whatever the cost.

There are plot holes in this movie that may raise some eyebrows, indeed, the story hovers around ‘pretty fucking bad’ territory.  But who the fuck goes into a movie like this and cries foul that it’s not on par with The Godfather?  I hate it when people try to disect action movies in that way, maybe they just don’t get it.  Instead, there’s some heavy duty truckin’, or pure caterpillar power, as Swayze boasts when he rams another truck out of the way.  This movie is all about the horsepower, manly morals, country action music and frothing pit bulls tied up in your trailer, protecting your cargo.  It’s a movie where men compare driving skills and solve problems by ramming first, asking no questions later.

Here’s the best thing about this movie… it supplants suspect writing with wall-to-wall kinetic, practical stunt work. Cars are blown to hell, 18 wheelers are rolled.  Over and over, the movie doesn’t really know how to proceed in narrative, so it just resorts to smashing shit up real good.  And along the way, Meatloaf enjoys himself with a decent troll job.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen this one.  Certainly way back when high definition wasn’t a thing, probably even when the screens were still square. So to see it on Blu-Ray is refreshing, the 1080p transfer is heavyweight, crisp.  In a way, we should never really have gotten this one at all, so to see it in this quality is very well received by me. Through the sub the Peterbilt’s giant engine thunders, and through the 5.1 rear speaks her pipes scream… brilliant. No extras though, unless you’re interested in a very mucky trailer.

Look, man, this ain’t no masterpiece.  But even the opening credits look like something from a 2019 summer blockbuster.  It’s old school, how things used to be done.  Stuntmen earning their bread.  CGI?  What the fuck is that?  Puts today’s VODmit to shame.