21 January 2008 | Coventry
Good Luck, Chuck! ... You'll need it!
The set-up for this early 70's made-for-TV thriller is simplistic but efficient and much more frightening than any horror movie revolving on zombies, vampires or immoral ax-wielding psychopaths could ever be. The situation where the male protagonist finds himself trapped in may not be likely to happen any time soon, but it's definitely not unthinkable. Being the victim of a robbery, Chuck Banner is left behind in the restroom of a big shopping complex. When he regains consciousness, the store is closed down for the weekend and severely trained guard dogs stand between him and the exit doors. His only hope for rescue is his ex-wife and daughter, with whom he was supposed to meet at the airport, but by the time they figure out where Chuck is stuck, it might be too late. Movie scripts don't get any more rudimentary than this, but "Doberman Patrol" nevertheless guarantees a mere 90 minutes of suspense and thrills, largely thanks to James Brolin's strong performance as the man in peril as well as to the impressively trained dogs. The beautiful and athletic animals are very menacing and definitely fulfill their "guarding" duties. The search for Chuck on the outside is interesting to follow as well, with his ex-wife and her new husband being surprisingly likable and identifiable characters. The subject matter and the limited cast of characters don't exactly lend themselves to gory situations, but in this case the tense and claustrophobic atmosphere and stellar performances suffice. Recommended!