24 February 2019 | lost-in-limbo
Rambo? I think not.
The inspiration drawn from Rambo can't be questioned, as I couldn't shake the feeling from just staring at poster artwork, and whenever the protagonist ex-Green beret John Kyosuke all decked out in military gear along with the red headband shows up on screen. But then all that would be spoiled by awful voice acting and some minor tonal shifts of goofy animated grimaces, which took me right out of it.
Dog Soldier: Shadow of the Past is a crudely animated, flatly projected and intricately plotted OVA, which seems to be all about the pedestrian character beats and conspiracy twists. There's nothing wrong in trying to humanise the story, yet it's too contrived and tediously put together. Deep rooted in inner turmoil and at every chance rushing through background exposition only disrupt the rhythm, as the action scenes in between were far from memorable and had little to no impact due to how quickly it moved through each set-up. Only one moment stood out - a scarring death sequence leading to the finale's theatrical knife fight (yep, it included the iconic survival knife) between foes, who once were brothers, in a literal sense as they depended on each other growing up on the streets. I guess the conflictive family angle is suppose to come as a surprise, but really the twists are thrown out there without any sort of lead up to them. It's rather sudden, and confounded. So chuck in the drama intertwined with the usual devious military/government plotting and you get an overly padded out plot of cliched scenarios.
Honestly, watch the Saturday morning cartoon;Rambo: The Force of Freedom if you want to be entertained, as Dog Soldier falls way short with its stale, convoluted story threads and limp action.