Friday, March 25, 2011

Netflix Dare: Top Dog

When I agreed to a participate in the Netflix Dare, a new feature in which we Movie Goer bloggers dare each other to stream a less-than-spectacular movie and write about it, nothing could have prepared me for my first challenge. I got a text message. It read "I dare you to watch Top Dog." It was like a sucker punch to the gut. All the color went out of everything. I had avoided this turd all my life and all of a sudden I was supposed to sit myself down and subject myself to 91 minutes of its awfulness. I knew that if I put it off for even a second I would never summon the strength I needed to watch it. So, like the brave swimmer that dives into an icy pool before testing the water, I started it right away.

I don't know what I was afraid of. There's a lot to like about TOP DOG. First of all, the cool font used in the opening credits. It wastes no time in preparing you for the fun that is about to be had.

See what I mean? Other highlights include an assailant in a clown mask inexplicably doing a forward flip before firing a shotgun at Chuck Norris, white supremacists who look like long-haired Eurotrash dudes from any other 80’s action movie, group fight scenes so poorly choreographed that there is a cut after each punch, a delightful montage of Reno the dog modeling a series of hats and sunglasses, and even the old chestnut of Chuck Norris defusing a bomb and not knowing whether to pull the red or blue wire.

What’s not to like about top dog? Chuck Norris. The only man I’ll give a pass to for having an antagonistic relationship with a dog is Charles Grodin. And Chuck Norris is no Charles Grodin. The plot is ridiculous. Norris does little to no actual police work. The enemy is a group of white supremacists looking to unite racists all over the country, led by a man named Kohler. There is a meeting at the police station during which one of Chuck's fellow officer offers a little background information on the villain. And I quote:

“Kohler’s been on the scene for every racist attack across the world. Africa, Europe, Asia. He loves this stuff.”

The story goes on. Reno the dog, much to Chuck's chagrin, is a well-loved and exemplary officer, who lends a hand by dropping wooden crates on top of baddies or pushing them off rooftops. Though little that happens onscreen offers any evidence of this, we assume he is busy working on the case of the white supremacists. He is not quite sure when or where they will attack. While gardening with his mother, she mentions that, if she were going to launch a racist attack, she would do it tomorrow. Why tomorrow? Well, tomorrow is Hitler's birthday. It seems that Chuck's mom has done a great deal of hypothetical thinking about when she would launch a racist attack.

Now that he has the where, Chuck needs the when. Fortunately, the dog's police handler suddenly remembers that, oh yeah, the Coalition for Racial Unity is having some sort of opening or celebration in about half an hour. Does this seem like a likely target for the racists? You bet your ponytail, submachine gun, and shiny blazer it does.

Thankfully Norris and Reno get there in time to save the day. I don't quite even remember the very end, though I watched it just last night. It seems that Norris would want to adopt Reno as his own, or at least learn to love his canine charms, but I don't recall anything of this sort happening. What a jerk. A jerk with a shitty beard. A jerk with a shitty beard who, for some reason, seems to hate wearing shirts that have collars.

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