Director: Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin
Cast: Channing Tatum, Zuza, Britta and Lana (as Lulu), Luke Forbes, Ethan Suplee, Kevin Nash, Jane Adams, Q’orianka Kilcher, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Nicole LaLiberte, Junes Zahdi
Runtime: 1 hr 41 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Coarse Language and Sexual References)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Opening Day: 17 March 2022
Synopsis: DOG is a buddy comedy that follows the misadventures of two former Army Rangers paired against their will on the road trip of a lifetime. Army Ranger Briggs (Channing Tatum) and Lulu (a Belgian Malinois dog) buckle into a 1984 Ford Bronco and race down the Pacific Coast in hopes of making it to a fellow soldier's funeral on time. Along the way, they’ll drive each other completely crazy, break a small handful of laws, narrowly evade death, and learn to let down their guards in order to have a fighting chance of finding happiness.
And why shouldn’t Channing Tatum portray a US Army veteran who has been wounded (physically and psychologically) by the war? After playing countless macho characters in the Magic Mike, GI Joe and 21/22 Jump Street movies, the 41 year old actor is the perfect candidate for the role.
In this drama comedy which Tatum co directed with Reid Carolin, he takes on the character of Jackson Briggs, a retired Army Ranger who is feeling down and is dying for a piece of action – you can’t blame the guy for reminiscing about his glorious past after taking up a seemingly boring job at a sandwich parlour. To score points to get back into the service, he accepts the mission to transport a fellow soldier's K-9 military working dog to her late handler’s funeral across the country. It’s a road trip for Briggs and the Belgian Malinois named Lulu. You can bet this is going to be a fun road trip.
Do we need another movie about dogs? Many other titles come to mind. Japanese drama Hachiko Monogatari (1987) and its American remake Hachi: A Dog's Tale (2009) can make grown men cry. Turner & Hooch (1989) is a great buddy cop comedy, while All Dogs Go To Heaven (1989) is an animated classic.
This movie starring Tatum actually feels different from the abovementioned films. Instead of playing up the sentimental storyline (which can be really convenient because Lulu is meant to be put down after the funeral), there are actually many fun elements throughout the 104 runtime, and it is likely due to the Tatum’s effortless on screen presence. He is like the buddy every guy wants to have, and the rugged fella every lady wishes to date. The scenes of him interacting with Lulu are fun to watch, and you’ll believe that the two actually formed a bond on set. The filmmakers did not waste the opportunity to show off Tatum’s well built bod. You can expect shirtless scenes, and in one particularly gratuitous sequence, be in awe as Tatum’s t-shirt clings to his body while he walks in the rain.
Guilty pleasure aside, the movie does offer an interesting look at how two wounded individuals come together to heal each other. One’s a human who is coming to terms that the army doesn’t need him (he also has a permanent impairment that isn’t doing his health any good), while the other is a canine who has been traumatised by war (the dog doesn’t know that she is going to be euthanised at a military base after attending its former handler’s funeral). Right up to the scene where Lulu is about to face her eventual fate, you will have a foreboding that things may end on a sad note. But trust the filmmakers to ensure a happy ending so that viewers can walk out of the theatre on a positive note, albeit the turn of events does feel a bit rushed.
There are also some unexpected episodes in the story. One involves a potential threesome that gets interrupted, while another sees Briggs and Lulu checking into a luxurious hotel under hilarious circumstances. These moments are fun enough for you to be engaged from beginning to end.
(Channing Tatum works his charm in this enjoyable and entertaining movie)
Review by John Li