Sunday, January 31, 2010

Horror Movie Review: Dog Soldiers

Dog Soldiers

Starring: Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Emma Cleasby, and Liam Cunningham

Directed by: Neil Marshall

Written by: Neil Marshall

Production Companies: Kismet Entertainment Group, The Noel Gay Motion Picture Company, The Carousel Picture Company, The Victor Film Company, and Luxembourg Film Fund

Release Date: March 22, 2002

Awards: Gold Raven and Pegasus Audience awards at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film in 2002, the Grand Prize of European Fantasy Film in Silver at the 2002 Luxembourg International Film Festival, and the Saturn Award for Best DVD Release in 2003 from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films

Dog Soldiers starts off looking like a military thriller where, if done in America, you would expect Denzel Washington starring with Jack Nicholson as the antagonist, but we get Kevin McKidd standing up to Liam Cunningham. That's not to say that McKidd or Cunningham did a bad job, but the opening scene felt like it should have Washington and Nicholson.

McKidd's on the run through the forest as strange attackers chase him. He defends himself but ultimately gets subdued. Cunningham, as Captain Ryan, tells Private Cooper (McKidd) that he's lasted longer than any other recruits but that he needs to learn to eliminate his enemy's means of finding him. Then Ryan tells Cooper to shoot the dog. Cooper refuses and Ryan shoots the dog just to prove a point...that Cooper's not fit for his squad.

See, can't you just see Denzel and Jack head-to-head here? McKidd and Cunningham do a fine job, but Cunningham just doesn't seem to play the "evil" character convincingly, and McKidd lacked moral indignation at Cunningham's request...but it's not a military flick, it's a werewolf flick.

Cooper's in the woods again with a different boss, Sergeant Wells, played by the underworked Sean Pertwee. Wells and his team are on a training mission against a black ops group. It's not long, however, before chaos reigns down on them, startlingly with, at first, the bloody remains of a cow. Captain Ryan rears his untrustworthy head, and the werewolves come out of the woodwork.

Then enter Megan driving along to rescue the survivors in her jeep. They go to a house, the inhabitants who live there ominously missing, and make their stand against the werewolves.

I enjoyed the movie, although there was an unexplaned werewolf transformation without werewolf would or explanation why the werewolf could keep from transforming past nightfall when all the other werewolves already transformed.

But it was an exciting film. I liked that, in this day of CGI dependency, Marshall used actual special effects rather than computer animation for the werewolf effects. He did some cool shots early on with the werewolves showing us the house in which Cooper, Megan, and the rest were hiding in through the eyes of the werewolf giving us black and white scenes.

It's a fun, exciting movie despite a little of the nonsensical.

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Emma Cleasby, who played Megan, also starred in Doomsday. A lethal virus spreads throughout the British isles,infecting millions and killing hundreds of thousands. To contain the threat, acting authorities brutally quarantine the country as it succumbs to fear and chaos. The quarantine is successful. Three decades later, the Reaper virus violently resurfaces in a major city. An elite group of specialists, including Eden Sinclair, is urgently dispatched into the still-quarantined country to retrieve a cure by any means necessary. Shut off from the rest of the world, the unit must battle through a landscape that has become a waking nightmare.

Blood: The Last Vampire

Liam Cunningham, who played Captain Ryan, also starred in Blood: The Last Vampire. A vampire named Saya, who is part of covert government agency that hunts and destroys demons in a post-WWII Japan, is inserted in a military school to discover which one of her classmates is a demon in disguise.

Neil Marshall also wrote and directed The Descent. A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.

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