The Dogs Of War [DVD]
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DVD Special Features:
Original theatrical trailer
Interactive menu Screens
Languages in Dolby Digital 5.1: English
Languages in Dolby Surround: English, German, Italian
Languages in Mono: French, Spanish Subtitles: French, Spanish, Norwegian, Italian, Danish, Durtch, Swedish, English for the hard of hearing, German for the hard of hearing
1.85: 1 widescreen 16:9 version
Based on the novel by Frederick Forsyth, The Dogs of War is an uneasy mix of espionage and combat that never really succeeds in either role. Based around the character of Paul Shannon, the film follows events in the fictional African state of Zagaro. Hired on a reconnaissance mission by a nameless multi-national corporation, Shannon is captured and tortured before his release, only to return to the country to lead a small band of mercenaries (the dogs of the title) in a bloody coup.
The first section of the movie works best, building a real sense of tension and unease, not least through a typically understated performance by Christopher Walken as the paranoid loner who keeps a pistol in his fridge (watch too for a brief appearance from a young Jim Broadbent). There are obvious references to the by-then obsolete school of Vietnam filmmaking in the second section, with the Asian enemy replaced by an African one. The gung-ho mentality of the soldiers is, however, so two-dimensional that the viewer develops little empathy for their plight. The action is slow and drawn out, with the seemingly endless pregnant pauses operating as a means for enabling the film to achieve a reasonable running time.
On the DVD: little is on offer here aside from the usual scene selection, audio and subtitle options and original cinema trailer. --Phil UdellSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Frederick Forsyth's novel gained much notoriety due to the excessive lengths he went to in researching it - few writers would actually invest in a hastily abandoned African coup d'etat to get the inside details right, though it seems Forsyth did just that. As a result, the film goes to great lengths to stress its veracity, with director John Irvin, still hot after the success of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, adopting the stripped-down near documentary style that served Fred Zinnemann so well with The Day of the Jackal. Irvin's subsequent work would sadly mark him out as one of the flattest action directors in the business, but here - perhaps leaning on the experience of cinematographer Jack Cardiff, who also directed Dark of the Sun - he delivers the goods surprisingly effectively.Read more ›
I have read that there is a longer cut of this film(which I may have seen years ago on late night T.V.) but as the only version available on DVD I'd still recommend purchasing this DVD as you don't notice any bad cuts and the film to me seems perfect. I'm still intrigued to see the longer cut(again maybe?) at some point if it ever becomes available, but I'm perfectly happy with this edition.
The DVD is a quality 16:9 widescreen ratio 1:85:1 with good picture and sound.
Walken is an always watchable screen presence, and always brings something more to the material he has been given, but here, he really struggles with such a poor narrative, and an incoherent cut of the film.
What we have here is Walken pretending to be an ornithologist, taking pictures of restricted areas, getting tortured, coming home, and then assembling a team to get his own personal vengeance.
Whoever edited this cut of the film really needs to made to watch this over and over, because once Walken leaves the country, it becomes baffling.
Berenger just turns up for no reason, and if you didn't know that there was a longer version, or the fact that he has bad mouthed this particular cut of the film, you'd be forgiven in thinking that he was a random stranger annoying Walken.
And then it goes to action territory, and by this time, all the cast look bored, despite the plethora of firepower they have, and the rest of the cast just jump at the right time as the explosions.
It's annoying really, because I've heard so many good things about this film, and the easiest version to get is this butchered monstrosity.
One to avoid, unless you get the full version.
And as a movie, The Dogs of War is excellent. It comes under the rubric of action-suspense. Much of it is taken up with the suspense leading to a brilliant action pay-off. Christopher Walken is terrific. He is a unique blend of delicacy of look but ruthlessness of manner, much like Edward Fox's anti-hero of Day of the Jackal, also by Frederick Forsyth. The supporting cast is perfect. Though some think the movie drags, I think all the sequences were useful in developing character (Walken's) and story. The detailed look we get of the formation of a mercenary venture is fascinating. The cinematography is brilliant, thanks to the great Jack Cardiff. The special effects are quite realistic, i.e. realistic enough not to be a distraction.
And here's my favourite quality of this movie: It's perhaps the most realistic, most chilling portrait of a fetid, corrupt and depraved African country I have ever seen. It should be noted that the model is Equatorial Guinea, the location of a real coup in 2004 and, more important, a coup, in 1973 in which Forsyth himself participated.
The Dogs of War is one of the best movies of its genre and perhaps the best movie about mercenaries ever.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This film does not compare with the Day of the Jackal even though it is based on another Frederick Forsyth novel. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Private Pike
Not as good as the book, when the main character is actually Irish ,from memory ... But full of action, good old fashioned war movie.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Nicely made, unsentimental film. Doesn't have quite all the detail I enjoyed in the book, but that shouldn't be a surprise.Published 5 months ago by P.Kelly