Monday, 7 October 2013

Battledogs (2013)

When a young woman (Ariana Richards) turns a bit funny as she arrives at a New York airport she ends up causing quite a major situation. You see, she infects a number of people with what becomes known as the lupine virus. That means that when people get agitated they turn into werewolves. Vicious werewolves that appear to have jumped out of the nearest Playstation One. Anyway, Craig Sheffer and Kate Vernon play two people wanting to find a cure and help the situation, Dennis Haysbert is an uncaring military leader who wants to harness the power of the lupine virus and weaponise it, and Ernie Hudson pops up just long enough for fans of Ghostbusters to say: "look, Ernie Hudson."

This is how the main creatures look
Directed by Alexander Yellen and written by Shane Van Dyke, Battledogs may be full of horrible dialogue, uneven acting and special effects so bad that they will make your eyes water, but it also manages to be surprisingly enjoyable. God knows that I was expecting to do little more than endure this one, I'm as surprised as anyone else to have found a number of redeeming features.

THIS is a battledog!!!!!!!
The first redeeming feature is the cast. Although they are given the unenviable task of trying to polish a turd, forgive the expression, most of them still try to sell the ridiculous premise. Haysbert may be given the worst treatment by the script, but Sheffer, Hudson, Richards and Vernon all fare slightly better. They're not giving great performances, but they don't do too badly. Of course, maybe I was just expecting a LOT worse.

The second redeeming feature is the pacing of the thing. This starts off at a fair pace and never really lets up until the very end. Yes, there are inevitable moments of downtime but nothing ever gets so bad that you start clockwatching.

Third, there's just a healthy sense of fun about the whole thing. It's not being tongue-in-cheek, it's not trying to be some minor cult hit, but this aims to please. Despite the relatively small budget, it throws in many creature moments and keeps trying to punch above its weight. Most of those punches miss, but it's hard not to grudgingly admire the attempt.

Battledogs is NOT a good movie, yet I didn't hate it. I could bring myself to watch it again. But only if I really had to.



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