Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Dogs of War (1981)

Christopher Walken stars in John Irvin's graphic adaptation of Frederick Forsythe's novel about a mercenary sent to overthrow the government of an African country. Walken is Shannon, an American soldier of fortune who has staged incidents in Central America and Africa that helped topple governments. Shannon decides to take on one more mission when American businessman Endean (Hugh Millais), working for a large mining company wanting to move into an African country, hires Shannon to scout out the terrain of the country and see if the government is weak enough to be overthrown. Shannon assumes the guise of a photographer for a nature magazine and travels through the country, meeting a wide-array of people. But the government becomes suspicious of Shannon and throws him in jail, where, between torture sessions, he meets an imprisoned dissident leader. Through his imprisonment, Shannon comes to understand more fully the struggles of the African country. ~ Paul Brenner, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 119 mins
The Dogs of War (1981)

More of the cheesy variety of films produced in 1981 and along with Stripes. Christopher Walken does a good job on his part even if not much to work with. In the end Christopher's character does the right thing, so not sure if it was meant as anti-war or in fact glorified war or was even anti-imperialist. But in the end there was a heavy cost for the war and interventions.

After Endean gives Shannon $1 million for expenses, Shannon contacts his mercenary cohorts from Central America (3 of whom join him; 1 does not). They meet up at Liverpool Street Station to plan the coup, when all the options have been decided Michel proposes a toast followed by Shannon's reciting his motto "Everyone Comes Home". The group illegally procures Uzi submachine guns, ammunition, rocket launchers, mines, and other weapons from arms dealers.
The Dogs of War (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Unfortunately, I forgot what actor did not join him but was famous enough that I assumed he would come back into the script-which he does not. A film technique that I see often is a minor character will go off in a different direction and when the time is right, they are brought back in to either keep the plot moving along or to "save the day". That is what I expected all along in this film, but either that plot never developed or the writer just wanted to show that someone decided to finally hang up their guns.

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