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Dogs Of War
     

Dogs Of War

5.0 2
Director: John Irvin, Christopher Walken, Tom Berenger, Colin Blakely

Cast: John Irvin, Christopher Walken, Tom Berenger, Colin Blakely

 

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Though there is no indication of it anywhere on the packaging, other than the length, MGM Home Entertainment's DVD of the war drama The Dogs of War is actually the longer and arguably better U.K. cut. Fifteen minutes have been included, mostly scenes involving mercenary Jamie Shannon (Christopher Walken) and his estranged wife, played by JoBeth Williams. But

Overview

Though there is no indication of it anywhere on the packaging, other than the length, MGM Home Entertainment's DVD of the war drama The Dogs of War is actually the longer and arguably better U.K. cut. Fifteen minutes have been included, mostly scenes involving mercenary Jamie Shannon (Christopher Walken) and his estranged wife, played by JoBeth Williams. But there are also added scenes of Shannon and a young black street kid (that was only touched upon in the previous U.S. version), more scenes of logistical planning between Shannon and his comrades, as well some other added stuff. What you end up with is a more cohesive whole and a film that is a lot more dramatically enriching than its previous cut. Too bad MGM has neglected to advertise the inclusion of the added material, since they may actually pull in some new viewers. But considering the subject matter, perhaps not. The disc's picture (letterboxed at 1.85:1) is sharp throughout (far better than previous VHS versions), though there is some instability during certain nighttime battle scenes. Overall, though, the image is excellent. The robust English language two-channel surround sound is also excellent, giving the film the proper boost. The disc has also been given French and Spanish subtitle options. The original theatrical trailer has also been included. This is a great disc and MGM should be commended for finally making this version of the film available in the U.S.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
John Irvin's adaptation of the Frederick Forsyth novel about a mercenary attempting to execute a coup d'état in a small African country is an absorbing, if occasionally murky, adventure film. Christopher Walken stars as the burned out mercenary whose adrenaline junkie nature leads him to accept the job of toppling the shaky government of the fictional nation of Zangaro. While the story may be fiction, Forsyth has clearly done his homework, and Zangaro proves a persuasive composite of a typically unstable African polity; in particular, the film eerily presages the destabilizing of Sierra Leone in the mid-'90s by gold mining interests. Irvin's lean, low-key direction is as effective in laying out the painstaking planning of the coup as in obliquely underlining the dire political effects of the exploitation of this tiny country by outsiders. As impersonal as this sounds, the film is as gripping as any thriller, imbued as it is with overtones of revenge, since Walken returns for the coup after having been tortured in Zingaro on his first visit. He gives another virtuoso performance as the existential warrior, a part that's as close as he's ever come to playing an action hero. The photography of gifted cameraman Jack Cardiff also contributes greatly to the film's atmosphere of menace.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/20/2001
UPC:
0027616860965
Original Release:
1981
Rating:
R
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital, stereo]
Time:
1:59:00

Special Features

Original theatrical trailer; English: stereo surround; French & Spanish language subtitles

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Christopher Walken Jamie Shannon
Tom Berenger Drew
Colin Blakely North
Hugh Millais Endean
Paul Freeman Derek
Jean-François Stévenin Michel
JoBeth Williams Jessie
Robert Urquhart Capt. Lockhart
Winston Ntshona Dr. Okoye
Pedro Armendariz The Major
Harlan Cary Poe Richard
Ed O'Neill Terry
Isabel Grandin Evelyn
Ernest Graves Warner
Kelvin Thomas Black Boy
Shane Rimmer Dr. Oaks
Father Joseph Konrad Priest
Bruce McLane Shop Manager
George W. Harris Col. Bobi
David Schofield Endean's Man
Terence Rigby Hackett
Tony Mathews Bank Vice President
Martin Lasalle Actor
John Quentin Party Guest
Jean-Pierre Kalfon Benny Lambert
Christopher Malcolm Baker
Jack Lenoir Boucher
André Penvern Policeman
Lawrence Davidson Policeman
Hugh Quarshie Zangaron Officer
Olu Jacobs Customs Officer
Christopher Asante Geoffrey
Thomas Baptiste Dexter
Eddie Tagoe Jinja
Kenny Ireland Film Crew
Jim Broadbent Film Crew
Diana Bracho Nun
Robert Berger Poker Player
William Cain Poker Player
Jose Rabelo Hotel Clerk
Victoria Tennant Dinner Party Guest
Erica Creer Dinner Party Guest
Sheila Ruskin Dinner Party Guest
Ilario Bisi-Pedro Kimba

Technical Credits
John Irvin Director
Geoffrey Burgon Score Composer
Jack Cardiff Cinematographer
Lawrence James Cavanaugh Special Effects
Mike Collins Art Director,Special Effects
Bert Davey Art Director
Gary de Vore Screenwriter
Larry de Waay Producer
Antony Gibbs Editor
Leonard Glasser Screenwriter
Norman Jewison Producer
Rudi Liszczak Special Effects
Steve Lombardi Special Effects
George Malko Screenwriter
Peter Mullins Production Designer
Patrick Palmer Producer
Emma Porteous Costumes/Costume Designer
John Siddall Art Director

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Selections
1. Main Title/War Zone [3:16]
2. "Hell of a Godfather" [:11]
3. Search & Seizure [8:13]
4. Independent Guide [:06]
5. A Toast to Birds [4:04]
6. "This Is Not America" [3:24]
7. Beaten & Dismissed [4:51]
8. A Very Bad Report [3:49]
9. Kindling an Old Flame [5:03]
10. Preparing for War [2:14]
11. Money & Guns [1:08]
12. Discouraging News [6:38]
13. Soldiers at Sea [1:35]
14. By Cover of Darkness [3:35]
15. Lighting Up the Night [2:47]
16. "You're Late!"/Credits [4:10]

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Dogs Of War 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
sand-a-man More than 1 year ago
FIGHT FOR PAY This film stands out because, while there is plenty of action, unlike other movies of its kind the plot drives it. It's a more accurate than usual portrayal of the life of mercenaries, pawns in the larger global game of power and profits, seen through the experiences of the character played by Christopher Walken. Its specific focus is a coup d'etat in Africa that must be executed by a clandestine force, necessarily commissioned outside the official channels of government. From its earliest stages, all aspects of the mission are rife with mortal danger, a reflection of the political and international business forces vying to maintain their own interests. A veteran of several similar assaults, Walken's character, Jamie Shannon, is contacted to organize and implement the project. For him, it should be just another assignment, but this one is different. Given his most recent experience, he has grown disillusioned with the life. We see a grizzled, jaded soldier of fortune who is well-trained and honed for the task, but who is nonetheless hoping that perhaps this particular job may be his last. Through the course of events, we therefore get not only a story of a military conflict but one that is personal as well. The other film's strengths are its aversion to stereotypes and straw men. This is not the stuff of Chuck Norris or Sylvester Stallone. We are not subjected to distorted combat scenes where the hero wins the battle with one hand and the enemy is a stupid, sub-human dreg. Rather, we get a sense of the uncertainty of survival, of the brutal reality of life and death under unusual and exceptional circumstances. Within that context, the lines between good and evil, hero and villain, are blurred. This is as good a movie as there is in this genre. Walken's performance is compelling, demonstrating he is very comfortable in this character, bolstered by an excellent supporting cast (including an unexpectedly good showing from Tom Berenger). Fine direction of vivid action scenes ensures that the tempo does not drag, but balanced against that is cutting dialogue. This film thus succeeds at several levels and, although to some it may be disturbing in tone, still makes for great entertainment.
jameswormold More than 1 year ago
It could be said that Dogs of War is the only good film ever made about mercenaries. And it is pretty good when it comes to the involvement of corporations in the running of the world. The performances are excellent. One of Christopher Walken's best, and most forgotten, performances. The rest of the cast are equally as fine. This is definitely a movie to see more than once.