- Ax 2013
Danny the Dog
Luc Besson, Jet Li, Steve Chasman, Bernard Grenet (executive) for Europacorp, TF1, Qian Yian International, Current Entertainment, Canal+
directed by Louis Leterrier
starring Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins, Kerry Condon, Vincent Regan, Dylan Brown, Tamer Hassan, Michael Jenn, Phyllida Law, Carole Ann Wilson, Mike Lambert, Jaclyn Tze Wey, Puthirith Chou, Tony Theng, Owen Lay Franck Xie Cheng, Georgina Chapman, Danielle Louise Harley, Andy Beckwith, Michael Webber, Jeff Rodum, Laurence Ashley, Alex Lawson, Stuart Lawson, Audifax Kinga, Eric Mondoloni, Vanessa Mateo, Alain Figlarz, Maurice Chan, Grégory Feurté, Amadéo Cazzela, Emmanuel Lanzi, Affif Ben Badra, Cyrille Hertel, Santi Sudaros, Scott Adkins, Valérie Hénin, Sedina Balde, Christian Bergner, Patrick Médioni, Jean-Francois Lenogue, Malki Attar, Serge Beuchat, Christophe Weyer, Vincent Haquin, Tarik Zitouni, Joseph Beddelem, Fred Dessains, Carlos Bonelli, Michel Bouis, William Cagnard, Thierry Saelens, Ksénia Zarouba, Pascaline Girardot, Alain Barbier, Alain Grellier, Nic Stevens, Gregory Loffredo, Mouloud Ikhaddelene, Marc Chung, Oumar Diaoure, Eric Etje, Sylvain Gabet, Pierre Rousselle, Marc Hoang, Karim Hocini, Loic Molla, Louis-Marie Nyee, Patrick Oliver, Sebastian Soudais, Patrick Tang, Michael Troude, Patrick Vo, Frédéric Alhinho, Gabriel Chatelain, Tarick Hadouch, Lionel Bouvard, Pascal Lopez, Pascal Lavanchy, Quentin Pierre, Vincent Tulli, Clara Creantor, Christelle Senechal, Isabelle Didier, Gwenael Mairey, Aridadna Cascaval, Ludmila Henry, Rebecca Hazan, Hyggins Sansa, Christian Gazio, Matthieu Albertini, Georges Menoît, Osana Ekue, Miguel Cueva, Kathy Farkas, Friedrich Hartwig, Stéphane Gluck
written by Luc Besson, music by Neil Davidge, Massive Attack, the RZA, martial arts choreography by Yuen Woo-ping, special effects by Mac Guff Ligne, Éclair Numérique
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Danny (Jet Li) is kept as a fighting machine by gangster Bart (Bob
Hoskins), who essentially treats him like a dog, a dog who will kill
whoever he tells him to once his dog collar comes off. Then though Bart
dies in an accident caused by a business rival (Vincent
Regan), and left all on his own, Danny turns to the only man who has ever
been kind to him, blind piano tuner Sam (Morgan Freeman) - and Sam and his
stepdaughter Victoria (Kerry Condon) do everything to help Danny to
reconnect with his feelings and with his past again, and to learn how to
be a proper human being ... and after time, they seem to succeed - when
Bart, who apparently hasn't died at all when he was killed, shows up again
and forces Danny to participate in a prizefight to the death. Danny wins,
but refuses to kill his opponents, much to Bart's dismay.
thrown into a cage, but manages to escape and find evidence that it was in
fact Bart who has killed his mother ... but by that time, Bart and gang
have already tracked him down and try to kill him ... but of course, Danny
is such a good fighter that he has no problems taking out Bart's gang -
and ultimately, Sam even amnages to keep Danny from killing Bart, as his
humane feelings win out over his killer instincts - and for that, Danny
ultimately gets the girl (Victoria, in case you wondered).
Pretty much as cheesy as a martial arts flick can get. Now don't get me
wrong, the fight scenes are pretty well-choreographed by specialist Yuen
Woo-ping, but the plot in-between ... oh my God, and it's made all the
worse by Morgan Freeman turning in yet another of his holyman/father
figure type of performances, made all the cheesier by the fact that he is
blind and a piano tuner - now come on, if a old, black and blind
piano tuner doesn't spell out kitsch in capital letters, I don't know what
does. But the problem of this film isn't so much that it is cheesy as such
but that some stretches of Danny learning to be a human being are
incredibly clichéd and incredibly boring.
A word about Jet Li: He is
certainly no great actor, but in this one, he's better than in most of his
other films - but he's constantly upstaged by Bob Hoskins, the only
highlight of Danny the Dog, actingwise.
In all, Danny the Dog
is not an entire failure, but unfortunately its few highlights are easily
outbalanced by its many shortcomings, so much so that the film gets on
one's nerves every now and again.
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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