Black Dog (1998) – Review

2 Stars

Black Dog is a truly unremarkable action yarn with Patrick Swayne in a role that would have been earmarked for Burt Reynolds if the movie had come out two decades prior.The problem is that Swayze doesn’t have the charisma of Reynolds and he looks bored in the role of a Southern man hitting the road in exchange for redemption. Director Kevin Hooks does what he can with the thin material, his habit of dutch tilt angles works better here than in Fled, but the story he’s working with isn’t as compelling as his debut film, Passenger 57.

Jack Crews (Patrick Swayze) is a recently paroled trucker without a license. He’s tricked into transporting a cache of illegal assault weapons in exchange for $10,000, the exact amount he needs to keep the bank from foreclosing on his home. Jack is sent on the run to Georgia with a copilot, Eddie (Randy Travis), and a tail car with two drivers, Simon and Wes. But as soon as Jack starts to make progress across the highways, his duplicitous boss (Meat Loaf) sends a goon squad to hijack the shipment and kill Jack and his crew. Stephen Tobolowsky and Charles S. Dutton play ATF and FBI agents, respectively, on the lookout for Jack and his employer.

Black Dog is a serviceable but unspectacular action vehicle for Swayze, who has some credit in the genre after his turns in Point Break, Road House, and Next of Kin. While Dog is an easier and more satisfying watch than Kin, it is still a second-tier picture that wouldn’t receive a theatrical release in today’s competitive marketplace.

Director: Kevin Hooks
Stars: Patrick Swayze, Randy Travis, Meat Loaf

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