Black Dog Preview

Patrick sits nervously on his couch. “Can I get you officers anything,” he asks politely to Detectives Lost and Found. ‘Thank you, no,” says Found, “we just wanted to ask you a few more questions about the missing dog we’re looking for.” Patrick is all ears, but Lost appears agitated and butts in. “Where’s the other one of you two? Aren’t you two supposed to be crafting some new work of genius?” he asked aggressively, looking suspiciously around the apartment. “Uh… no… well, yes. But he left. He’s a real dumbo anyway, you wouldn’t want to talk to him,” Patrick responds glumly. “That’s too bad,” says Found, just as he whacks Patrick over the head with an elaborate candlestick. Rolling him up in a very expensive and classy Persian rug they sneak Patrick out of the apartment. “Too bad we couldn’t get both. Hope our… friend… holds up his end of the bargain,” Lost wheezes as they toss Patrick’s limp body into the back of a tractor trailer. That’s right! We’re heading on a cross-country, action-filled trip with Patrick Swayze a.k.a. The Swayze. I’ve actually had my eye on this one for a while since it was the last major release of Swayze’s career and seems to me like it’s been largely forgotten. Let’s go!

Jamie brushes the dust out his eyes as he squints at the dark figure approaching through the wasteland. At first glance he looks like a famous actor, but on closer inspection he is not… not at all. He doesn’t like the look of this at all, but just when he turns to hide he’s surrounded by a group of marauding mailmen.  “Not these guys again,” Jamie thinks, remembering how he and Patrick barely escaped them with their lives the last time they were in the waste… but Patrick’s not here now. Just when the mailmen approach to pummel Jamie, though, the dark figure appears at his side. That’s right! We’re buckling up for a high-octane thrill ride with Driving Force starring none other than *squits* Sam J. Jones… is that right? Also appearing in the film is Don Swayze. He of course plays the bad guy because… well, he kinda just looks like a bad guy. We chose it because I couldn’t believe that Don Swayze also had a truck driving movie. Let’s go! 

Black Dog (1998) – BMeTric: 36.8 

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(I’m a bit stunned by how many votes this has. I’ve never heard of this film, according to the rating it is considered quite bad by people who’ve watched it … and yet it has nearly eight thousand IMDb votes. Must be some sort of swayze effect.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  An ex-con trucker with a suspended license makes one last run to avoid foreclosure, and his rig turns out to be full of concealed assault weapons that his corrupt boss is planning to sell. There’s no dirty dancing for Swayze here but lots of dirty driving. Heavier on crashes than coherency.

(Did Leonard miss a comma before the last “but”? … nevermind. This review sounds suspiciously like “meh” which is … foreboding.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5FHxF0KqdA/

(Come to papa! This looks old school. They really don’t make theatrical films like this these days. As a matter of fact, that’s a fact. Seagal, Swayze, and Van Damme would all be relegated to straight-to-DVD by 2000 because these films just didn’t fly as “action” films anymore.)

Directors – Kevin Hooks – (Future BMT: Fled; Passenger 57; Strictly Business; BMT: Black Dog; Notes: Was an actor, particularly in The White Shadow, but now he only directs and produces. His father was also an actor, specifically in Star Trek III.)

Writers – William Mickelberry (written by) – (BMT: Black Dog; Notes: Directed the show Super Force, which sounds super rad. An astronaut in the future comes back to Earth and becomes a vigilante after learning his brother was murdered.)

Dan Vining (written by) – (BMT: Black Dog; Notes: Exclusively wrote TV Movies right up until this film … which was his last credit on IMDb.)

Actors – Patrick Swayze – (Known For: The Outsiders; Dirty Dancing; Point Break; Donnie Darko; To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; Ghost; Red Dawn; The Player; Next of Kin; 11:14; Uncommon Valor; City of Joy; Keeping Mum; Tall Tale; Green Dragon; Future BMT:Waking Up in Reno; Father Hood; Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights; Christmas in Wonderland; Youngblood; Powder Blue; Three Wishes; BMT: Black Dog; Road House; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1990 for Next of Kin, and Road House; Notes: The Sexiest Man Alive in 1991, died of pancreatic cancer in 2009.)

Randy Travis – (Known For: The Rainmaker; Future BMT: National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Frank & Jesse; BMT: Baby Geniuses; Fire Down Below; Black Dog; Texas Rangers; Notes: A world famous country singer, he has won six Grammys. He had a stroke in 2013 which has permanently left him unable to fully perform.)

Meat Loaf – (Known For: Fight Club; The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Wayne’s World; Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny; The Salton Sea; The Mighty; Leap of Faith; Beautiful Boy; Motorama; Focus; Future BMT: BloodRayne; Stage Fright; The 51st State; The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag; Crazy in Alabama; The Squeeze; Roadie; BMT: Spice World; Black Dog; Notes: A true singer-actor. He’s been part of a number of bands, but throughout he’s also performed theatrically and in film. Specifically he got his start performing in a travelling production of Hair.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $12,951,088

(Yeah a bit unclear, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a fine success. Clearly this is well after Swayze’s peak as a film star, and the stunts / sets seem like they could have been done reasonably on the cheap.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (2/20)

(Let’s get a consensus. If you like trucks, red meat, and country music? Well we made a terrible film that we hope you’ll spend money on. I do appreciate that almost all of the reviews note that this is basically an exploitation film. Exploiting trucks, and exploiting the audience who they think are demanding to spend money on films about them. Reviewer Highlight: Forget the Mortal Kombat movies–this trucksploitation flick is the closest the movies has come to video games. – Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com)

Poster – Black Sklog (C-)

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(While I 100% want to frame this and hang it in my home, I also think it’s absolutely crazy. Is the entire poster a dutch angle? Is the poster half fire? Why is there a tiny helicopter next to Swayze’s godlike face? So many unanswered questions and terrible font to boot. I won’t put it all the way in the trash because I also think it’s what I want out of a poster. Some love and care.)

Tagline(s) – The only way to stay alive is to keep moving. (D+)

(This is also the tagline for Shark: The Movie. This is the classic type of tagline that sounds like a tagline but then seems to peter out. Like you could imagine a film with the tagline “The only way to stay alive is to die” and it creates the unexpected twist. This just… doesn’t. It’s actually pretty bad when you think hard about it.)

Keyword(s) – betrayal by a friend; Top Ten by BMeTric: 67.1 Bodyguard (2011); 53.6 View from the Top (2003); 47.4 Little Black Book (2004); 40.8 The Alphabet Killer (2008); 37.9 Chasers (1994); 36.8 Black Dog (1998); 34.1 The Keeper (I) (2009); 34.0 Another 48 Hrs. (1990); 33.1 Broken Arrow (1996); 33.1 Drive Me Crazy (1999);

(I am shocked that betrayal by a friend isn’t more common … but maybe people don’t bother to add it to a bunch of films? Anyways, it is a bit unfortunate that the one I’m most interested in is Broken Arrow and it doesn’t qualify.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Patrick Swayze is No. 1 billed in Black Dog and No. 1 billed in Road House, which also stars Sam Elliott (No. 3 billed) who is in Ghost Rider (No. 5 billed), which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 5 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch Father Hood, The Rich Man’s Wife, and Killer Elite we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – On January 6, 1998, three Special Effects crew members were injured, preparing a gas-based explosion in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina. Two of the crew were hospitalized with serious injuries, and the third was treated and released. Improper safety measures that went against industry standards, allowed for a premature explosion as the crew was setting up the shot. The battery used to trigger the explosion was stored inside a truck engine compartment, rather than in the open. The battery was not disconnected when a cable touched the electrical contacts, causing detonation. Black Dog Productions was fined sixteen thousand eight hundred dollars by the state. These scenes that were filmed in downtown Wilmington, were not used in the final release. (This was definitely the opening scene. They were definitely in Wilmington, NC for that film and it makes sense that they wanted to have the truck his a big gas station or something … although they do end up blowing that truck up).

Patrick Swayze went through a real truck driving school to earn his Class A CDL (commercial driver’s license). (Awesome)

The bridge where the F.B.I. pull the truck over, is the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, one of the few “center span” drawbridges left in the U.S. The bridge opens by the entire center section being lifted straight up in the air between the two towers.

Kevin Sorbo was originally signed to star, but had to pull out due to medical problems. (Wow, what a miss there)

The “F.B.I. Headquarters” shown in the film, is actually the Georgia-Pacific building in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

According to Vic Armstrong, the stunt crew, including Second Unit Director and Stunt Coordinator Gary Hymes, were fired from the film by the producers. They then called in Vic Armstrong, to film the truck chase, and finish the stunt scenes. Parts of the stunt crew remained on the set, and was rehired by Armstrong.

When Jack talks to his wife he mentions moving out of Newark. However, when you look at the cars and trucks there are no front license plates. (Okay? That’s standard. Everything in the movie points to them living just outside of Newark, it is on his job sheet when he gets extorted by his boss in the beginning)

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