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The Dogs Of War [DVD]

4.2 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Christopher Walken, Tom Berenger, Colin Blakely, Hugh Millais, Paul Freeman
  • Directors: John Irvin
  • Writers: Frederick Forsyth, Gary DeVore, George Malko
  • Producers: Larry DeWaay, Norman Jewison, Patrick J. Palmer
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Danish, Dutch, English, French, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, German
  • Dubbed: French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English, German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Feb. 2002
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UQVY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,809 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

DVD Special Features:

Original theatrical trailer
Interactive menu Screens
Chapter Selections
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

From Amazon.co.uk

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 Udell

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 10 Nov. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Dogs of War is part of that subgenre of war movies that briefly blossomed in the late-sixties and seventies but found little favor in subsequent years, the story about the ageing mercenary who suffers a crisis of conscience (Dark of the Sun, The Wild Geese, Savior etc). It was also the last significant attempt to turn Christopher Walken into a mainstream leading man in the Brando mould on the back of his Deer Hunter Oscar, with the trailer and marketing almost ignoring co-stars Tom Berenger and, despite delivering the film's best performance as a cynical documentary filmmaker, Colin Blakely. Certainly Walken takes a beating as convincingly as Brando, though the public weren't biting in 1981.

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.
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By j.r on 12 Aug. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Dogs of war is an exellent film with Chtistopher walken fantastic in the leading role. This is my favourite Christopher Walken film closely followed by The Dead Zone and The Deer Hunter. If you like The Wild Geese and the more recent the Expendables then you'll love The Dogs of War. This film also stars Tom Berenger in a smaller but significant role that I'm sure helped him get cast as Barnes in oliver Stones Platoon. This film has a great cast, pace and music score. It also has an international feel with American, European and African locations.
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.
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Format: DVD
Bearing in mind this is a review of the theatrical cut, I couldn't possibly comment on the coherence and character development of the extended cut, hence the low rating.

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.
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Format: DVD
Ignore the one-star-rubbish reviews. I also read The Dogs of War and, yes, it's a condensation, but it has to be. It's a movie for god's sake!

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.
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