Black Dog Recap

Jamie

Jack Crews, truck driver extraordinaire, is fresh out of jail and trying to make ends meet. When he is offered an illegal smuggling job he wants to say no, but needs the money for his family. The job immediately goes awry as everyone from criminals to the police are after him. Can he stop the bad guys (and not go back to jail) before it’s too late? Find out in… Black Dog.

How?! Act I: Jack Crews is a man just trying to do right by his family. He was the best (the best!) truck driver around, but fell asleep at the wheel and went to jail for manslaughter. Now he just wants to make sure his family is fed, has a roof over their heads, and gets all the basketball shoes and free throw practice they need. Aw shucks. In a wild coincidence he is offered a $10,000 illegal smuggling job the same day that he learns that he owes $9,000 on his mortgage. How about that! So while he wants to say no, the pressure from his smarmy boss and debt force him into the criminal lifestyle. Oh, woe is the American justice system! Look upon ye institution that has failed such an honest family man in Jack Crews. Look at his chiselled chin! Oh, what a chin!… Act II: He totes goes and takes over the big rig like the boss that he is. Even when the bad guys attempt to set him up as a patsy and steal the goods back from under him, Crews is like “no way, Jose,” and outdrives them (duh). From there we learn that not only is one of the crew a rat, but another of the crew is an undercover cop! Oh boy, Jack Crews may as well drive right back to jail, right? Wrong! Act III: That’s because he sets up the big bad guys (who have kidnapped his wife and kid) to be caught by the police. Happy and laughing he totally hugs his kid and smooches on his wife and they all climb right into the truck for a little joy ride over to the impound lot (lol, what?). But, uh oh! Another bad guy is ready for one last intense chase culminating in a giant explosion and more smooches for Crews (naturally). THE END. Big question: is this the quintessential film about the pressure on parolees towards recidivism due to lack of adequate reentry programs?… name me a better one. 

Why?! Right in line with the big question, the motivation for Jack Crews is obvious. He is on parole for a felony manslaughter conviction. He needs a job to provide for his family, but the only person who will hire him is a smarmy criminal who is looking to exploit Jack’s lack of opportunity to use him for his nefarious deeds. Feeling like he has no way out, Jack takes the job. The criminals want that sweet, sweet money and they need Jack to take the fall in order to obtain it.

Who?! Randy Travis has a major role in the film, which is quite the coincidence seeing as he is also in next week’s Friend, T.N.T…. which also stars the star of Driving Force, Sam J. Jones. Additionally, Meat Loaf also has a prominent role in the film… but I thought he was less good than Randy Travis to be honest. There are also some great Special Thanks on this film, but definitely wanted to point out that the UNC burn center got a thanks as a result of an on-set accident that led to the firing of a few of the crew members. 

What?! “Well I better make sure to find a good product placement in Black Dog starring Patrick Swayze because god knows there won’t be any props for sale,” says Jamie as he checks the internet, “What thuuuu….” That’s right, you too can look just like Patrick Swayze… wearing a flannel shirt (probably while being told that he needs to commit crimes to make ends meet). In terms of actual product placements though, I only noticed a number of Ford motor vehicles.

Where?! Road Trip Alert! The beginning and end of the film take place clearly in New Jersey and the trip starts in Georgia. So I would put those at the top of the list of settings. But Tennessee is in there along with North Carolina. Obviously there are others, but would have to watch a bit closer to get his exact route clear. B

When?! Uh, basketball season? Seriously, though, you can put the pieces together on this one. Swayze’s file says he applied for a job at where he works in October 1998. In the beginning of the film his boss says he’s been working there for three weeks. I would put this in the beginning of November. Even the beautiful fall foliage matches this window. C.

Up until the end of the film, it was pretty ho hum. I liked the big stunts and explosions. Swayze’s background and motivations were tragic and made me sad, but I guess that’s a good thing since it made me feel an emotion (?)… although I don’t typically look for sadness in my action films. But otherwise the script was pretty tough, hinging on a hilarious coincidence where Jack gets his job offer the very day that he stumbles upon the foreclosure notice his wife has hidden from him. How fortunate for our narrative momentum. That should have been a hint for what the end of the film would bring because once the bad guys are dispatched our hero (?) is informed that he is not in fact going to jail at all! The police all recognize his innocence despite the many bodies Jack has left in his wake while driving a big rig across the United States without a license. No worries about that, they’ll help him get that license back. Also don’t worry about your house, they’re paying for it. Great! Also, does Jack and his family want to bip and bop about in the truck (a crime scene) for a bit before delivering it to the impound lot? Of course they do. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. As for Driving Force, it was exactly as billed: a Mad Max ripoff. I thought the story was pretty good despite that, as was Don Swayze. My biggest problem was actually a weird throughline that despite living in a post-apocalyptic hellscape the main character refuses help from the many wealthy individuals in his life in order to work as a tow truck driver/murderer to support his daughter… like what’s wrong with getting a safe job in your girlfriend’s corporation that she owns and runs? But no, he needs to earn a living like a man… that’s pretty dumb, bro. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Here I was thinking I was going to watch an action packed Swayze smash ‘em up, and instead we got a PSA about driving while tired. Well, I know I’m not going to drive while drowsy, lest I end up like Jack Crews. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I really didn’t know what to expect with this one. It is a movie I never heard of, with a clearly over-the-hill Patrick Swayze way past his 80s action prime, involving things I’m not sure I care about, namely big rigs. But hey, it is always fun to learn new things right? What were my expectations? Let’s get some sweet Swayze action, some things about fambly, and big rig action and call it a day. What more could I really expect?

The Good – The big rig action was actually a lot better than I expected. A bit slow moving, and a better movie would have adjusted the speed a bit instead of trying to provide realistic explanations about how big rigs are actually really hard to stop and dangerous, even when you think you’re under control (rainbow, piano ditty, The More You Know). The acting is … fine actually. I was fine with it, along with the ragtag group of heroes Swayze kind of accidentally accrues around him.

The Bad – The FBI story with Tobolowski is nonsense. I could have done without so much Meatloaf. I get it, he wants to jack the load and get away with the loot, but he keeps on coming back like the Terminator. He owns a transportation company, he isn’t a super human, it was weird. Swayze looks oooooooold in this film. It is pretty surprising considering he was only like 46 at the time, but it makes the film feel like a Seagal film, a last gasp of an era where a producer could just shout “Swayze, big rigs” and get a movie made. The end is terrible and basically kills the rest of the film. Spoiler, but the FBI absolves our ex-con from any legal repercussions, pays for his house, and get his trucker license back in one fail swoop, and then asks Swayze to drive the load to the impound himself with no escort … like WHAT?

The BMT – I don’t think so. If this was what BMT was every week I think we would have quit doing it years ago. I’m not joking. It is kind of a novelty I’ll give it that, but there just isn’t much meat on that bad movie bone. It’s a movie that kind of sucks, the end. Did it meet my expectations – As minimal as they were yes it did. I got to see old Swayze drive some big rigs with a heavy dose of him talking about his family. Doesn’t mean I enjoyed it, nor that it was that bad, this time I kind of knew what we were getting ourselves into prior to watching the film.

Roast-radamus – I think there is a strong case for Brian Vincent’s Wes being a Planchet (Who?) because his sole purpose in the film seems to be to be a slob and to be ripped on by everyone else. Unless your daughter’s basketball game is a holiday it doesn’t get that. I could believe that the cache of guns that Swayze is running is a MacGuffin (Why?), but in the end that is probably all you can make a strong case for. It really isn’t a bad, good, or BMT in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – I really can’t find anything with this on it. Not for 1998 or even for Swayze rankings (which mostly don’t count as they just use the Rotten Tomatoes score). I would say this would likely make a top five worst Swayze film. I think it is a top 5 worst Trucking film. And I think this could mix it up on some lists for the last film a major film star made prior to making a bunch of straight-to-video films as well. It has a pedigree of some sort, just not one you’ll find listed online.

Bring a Friend Analysis – For this Sibling Rivalry we had to look for a classic Don Swayze film. And Driving Force … well, it’s a Don Swayze film. Set in a dystopian future it really reminded me of a knock off Mad Max. A future where the bad guys rule, and the good guys can only take so much before they lash out at those that tried to take their loved ones. It is definitely the kind of film someone would be like “oh, Don Swayze, there is no way this isn’t entertaining!” And then you’d watch it and be like “Yeah … that was garbage, why did I watch that?” Also supremely weird because Flash Gordon himself is the lead actor and he is not good at acting. Grindy grungy film which could be entertaining if you’re into that style. I am not. C.

Originally I was going to watch Flash Gordon, but I straight up ran out of time. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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