The Dogs of War (1980)

R   |    |  Action, Adventure, Drama

The Dogs of War (1980) Poster

Mercenary James Shannon, on a reconnaissance job to the African nation of Zangaro, is tortured and deported. He returns to lead a coup.

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  • Christopher Walken in The Dogs of War (1980)
  • Tom Berenger in The Dogs of War (1980)
  • Christopher Walken in The Dogs of War (1980)
  • Christopher Walken in The Dogs of War (1980)
  • Tom Berenger and Christopher Walken in The Dogs of War (1980)
  • The Dogs of War (1980)

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8 July 2002 | Bogey Man
| Pretty intelligent and calm film by John Irvin
John Irvin directed this film, starring Christopher Walken as war veteran mercenary who gets a job by government to travel to Africa and inform the situation that is pretty hot in there. He does it, and sees the violence that takes place there, and when he returns to US and tells about the evil dictator that dominates there, the new job for him is to travel there again and wipe out the incarnation of evil..

This film isn't any action film as many seem to have expected - me included - but this is pretty sophisticated, but still also little slow moving (dir. cut. 15mins longer than the US version) portrait about the state of some countries in the world, and what these dictators can do to people and country. I'm mostly fascinated by the film's atmosphere and calmness as there isn't stupid gunplay or other usual flaws often found in these films. Walken acts greatly in his role of retired war veteran who takes the job only because of money offered to him. At the end, a twist in plot is coming and all the greediness and betrayal in the film gets a new face.

The end is little stupid as it tries to imitate Apocalypse Now a little, by depicting Walken's face and "the horror" as Francis Ford Coppola did, and the gun fights at the end are also little unnecessary, especially when the film managed to be without them for so long. Still the result is satisfying, yet little too long and occasionally may make the viewer feel little tired, but this film isn't meant to be watched when tired. The US distributor cut the original version by over ten minutes, and I saw the original director's cut which includes many important bits of dialogue and things that add to the film. So I recommend the director's cut of the film as it is the directors original version.

Dogs of War is pretty intelligent and interesting depiction of power and dictatorship, and also very nostalgic in its atmosphere and scenery. The gun battle at the end of the film is great looking and also gripping, but as mentioned, also little unnecessary and too traditional finale. 7/10

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