25 January 2014 | mikemdp
Fun and original, but wolves look silly
This somewhat original werewolf flick by The Asylum is more fun than it deserves to be, thanks to a its cool premise, some neato plot elements by scriptwriter Shane Van Dyke, some attractive location shooting, and the surprising and welcome presence of Ariana Richards, who's grown as hot as you might have expected since she uttered her infamous "It's a Unix system! I know this!" as a teen in "Jurassic Park."
It is, however, nearly undone by ridiculous-looking CGI werewolves, a script devoid of humor, and a couple of "Wait
What?" turns that all remind you you're watching a film from The Asylum.
Richards plays a wildlife photographer bitten by a wolf in Canada who arrives in New York's JFK Airport, where she promptly turns into a werewolf and goes on a killing rampage, turning more people into werewolves.
Without explanation, we learn the government has immediately decided to train werewolves as soldiers. That revelation provides the film's only laugh-out-loud moment, albeit unintentional, when one character asks what any sane viewer would at that point: Wouldn't that just serve to turn the enemy soldiers into werewolves, too? And then, you know, the world?
Nice of the film to take its biggest gaping plot hole and just lay it bare for the viewer.
That said, direction by Alexander Yellen is surprisingly tight and solid for a first-timer; and the Buffalo, N.Y., backdrop is a suitable stand-in for New York City. I especially enjoyed the abandoned train station that resembled Grand Central Terminal, which served as an Ellis Island of sorts for recently bitten werewolves.
But when your werewolves look like 3D versions of various cartoon "Big Bad Wolf" characters, you have to admit your audience isn't going to take your movie seriously. Therefore, you as a filmmaker shouldn't either.
And that's the major flaw in almost every film by this company – they play it straight. A little self-referential humor (I would have LOVED to see Richards save the day with a Unix system again. Just sayin') would have made "Battle Dogs" a classic.
As it stands now, it's a decent rental at the Redbox, but worth little more than that.