Two former Army Rangers–human and dog–go on a road trip in the unlikeliest buddy comedy in Dog to pay tribute to a fallen soldier.
Army Ranger Briggs (Channing Tatum) just wants to get back into active duty. Unfortunately for him, his brain injuries are the only thing standing in the way from going on another deployment. Upon learning that his fellow Ranger Riley Rodriguez died, Briggs finds out the Army has a request of him: drive Lulu, a Belgian Malinois, to Riley’s funeral. Lulu isn’t the best behaved dog and causes lots of trouble for Briggs. If the early part of their trip is any indication, it’s bound to be a nightmare for the both of them. Briggs doesn’t want to drive Lulu any more than she wants to be with him. But there they are together in a 1984 Ford Bronco while driving down the Pacific Coast.
The catch for Briggs? The only way his commanding officer will sign off on active duty is by driving Lulu. It will certainly not be easy.
In classic buddy comedy fashion, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. That’s just the way it is. Lulu escapes from the car, finds a pot farm run by Gus (Kevin Nash) and Tamara (Jane Adams), and you have to see it for yourself. Briggs also crosses a line in getting a free hotel room. However, Lulu is trained and also attacks a Muslim doctor at the hotel. It may have been an accident but it certainly causes a scene. The moral of the story? Do not impersonate a blind person let alone a blind veteran. It does not end well! Meanwhile, someone breaks into the car while visiting Los Angeles. Naturally, the car breaks down while they are so close to the funeral. But all in all, it brings Briggs and Lulu closer together.
Will they get to the funeral on time? Will Briggs come out of it a better person or have a new purpose in life? If you have seen road trip movies before, you probably have a good idea. I mean, it’s inevitable that they end up together, right? We cannot say the same about the Ford Bronco. Dog plus road trip equals inevitable destruction of the car.
For Channing Tatum, Dog is also his directorial debut. He co-directs with producing partner Reid Carolin from a script also written by Carolin. The film is a spiritual sequel to a documentary they produced, War Dog: A Soldier’s Best Friend. They bring on military folks in front and behind the camera whenever they can.
Dog is unlike most films featuring dogs. In most films, trainers will be just off to the side of a shot. However, it’s impossible in this film because of how many wide shots there are. As such, it requires Channing Tatum to really train for the role. He’s a dog lover, too, so this is easier said than done.
I would be remiss if I did not discuss the use of “Ride of the Valkyries” as a ringtone. Richard Wagner’s antisemitism and racism is common knowledge. Because of Hitler’s admiration of Wagner, one could not attend Nazi events without hearing Wagner’s music. I get that it’s a catchy tune but there is no excuse to keep using his work in movies or television. Not when it’s a reminder of six million Jewish lives lost during the Holocaust.
If you love dogs, you’re going to enjoy Dog. If you don’t love dogs, I’m at a loss for words.
DIRECTORS: Reid Carolin & Channing Tatum
SCREENWRITER: Reid Carolin
CAST: Channing Tatum, Jane Adams, Kevin Nash, Q’orianka Kilcher, Ethan Suplee, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Nicole LaLiberté, Luke Forbes, Ronnie Gene Blevins
MGM will release Dog in theaters on February 18, 2022.
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