Review: The Karate Dog

As  I observed at the end of my last post, I’ve only given one unfavorable review so far (2012 which can be found here). I’m not sure if it’s because I watch movies I know I’ll tend to like or if I’m just lucky. Perhaps I need to mix things up. That’s when my friend from Jelli Radio (Here’s his twitter) requested the following movie. Oh boy.

The Karate Dog (2004)

Starring: Simon Rex, Jaime Pressly, and Jon Voight

Directed By: Bob Clark

I first have to admit that this wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It’s definitely not good, but I was expected far worse. Here’s the plot in a nutshell: Cho-Cho (voiced by Chevy Chase) is a dog. I know, shocker! But he’s a dog that can somehow talk and walk on two legs when he wants to. His master Chin Li (Pat Morita) is killed in his shop while a bunch of bad guys are trying to obtain this ooze (think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). This is where Cho-Cho first displays his karate technique.

Cho-Cho calls the police (he can talk, remember?) where he meets the nerdy Detective Fowler (Rex) and beat-cop Ashley Wilkens (Pressly). Cho-Cho moves in with Fowler where they try to figure out who killed Chin Li plus bring down the mogul Hamilton Cage (Voight) who not only possibly runs a rigged dog track, but also was a student of Chin Li. Spoiler alert: the two things are connected! I know!

While it is called The Karate Dog, this is much more of a buddy-cop movie. There’s only two instances of karate being used, though Cage is seen practicing a couple of times. It has more in common with movies like Turner and Hooch and K-9 than it does with any karate movie, but that’s to be expected, I suppose. Cho-Cho HOLDING a badge on the DVD cover should have been the dead giveaway.

Bob Clark is an interesting case. He directed the cult classics Black Christmas and Porky’s as well as the holiday staple A Christmas Story before finishing his career with movies like this and the Super Babies movies. While this movie is cheesy as can be, it’s better than Super Babies and you can tell it was directed by someone with a clue. Tragically, Clark was killed by a drunk driver in 2007.

The cast is just there. Rex is tolerable as the lead. He used to be the next big thing as a host on MTV, but obviously that didn’t go anywhere. Pressly is cute here as the love interest. Morita was always fun to see in anything he did, this extended cameo was more of the same. Voight is the highlight and he looked like he was having a blast making the movie. Chase is a decent voice for Cho-Cho, too.

So, the issues? You mean other than it’s just not a good movie? Well, it’s obviously made for kids; the plot and themes are very easy to follow for the younger crowd (be nice to animals, don’t drink neon green stuff, etc). However, a lot of the humor I just don’t know how much they would get. Certainly all of it is appropriate, I just don’t know how much they understand. More than the usual Disney-style of throwing bones (haha!) to the parents here and there.

Bottom Line: Well, again, not as bad as it could have been. Some plot holes here and there, but it’s an easy to follow movie. The performances are decent at best (aside from the goofy Voight, he’s pretty good here). I’m sure the kids would like it. A lot of dog humor, dogs doing people things, and dogs with funny voices. It’s a very dumb, but inoffensive movie. Despite my commentary last week, I just can’t bring myself to tell anyone to watch this movie. I just can’t. Stupid conscience.

2/10 (Avoid).

Well, that’s that. If anyone else has requests (bad or good), send me a message on Twitter or just leave a comment. I’ll watch pretty much anything. I kind of like the interactiveness of that deal.

Friday is another Top 10. I’m not quite sure what yet. I have a few ideas, I just need to figure out which one is closest to being ready. The following Monday is another request review, this time for Let The Right One In, a movie I’ve been meaning to watch. And finally, next Wednesday will be another induction into my meaningless Hall of Fame!

Until then…


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