Thursday, April 24, 2014

#1,347. Man's Best Friend (1993)


Directed By: John Lafia

Starring: Ally Sheedy, Lance Henriksen, Robert Costanzo



Tag line: "Nature created him. Science perfected him. But no one could control him"

Trivia: For her work in this film, Ally Sheedy was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actress







Following up on a lead that EMAX, a corporation specializing in genetic research, has been experimenting on animals, reporter Lori Tanner (Ally Sheedy) pays an after-hours visit to the facility, sneaking into the main lab to take a look around. Along with various other animals, she finds a Rottweiler named Max, who she accidentally releases from his cage. As Lori attempts to re-capture Max, Dr. Jarret (Lance Henriksen), the scientist heading up the experiments, enters the lab and chases Lori off, but before she can drive away, Max jumps into the car with her. Against the advice of her boyfriend Perry (Fredric Lehne), Lori takes Max in, and the two become fast friends. What Lori doesn’t realize, however, is that Max was part of a top-secret experiment designed to breed the perfect guard dog, and without the proper medication, he’ll eventually lose control, attacking anyone he feels is a threat to his new buddy.

Released in 1993, Man’s Best Friend is, for the most part, a very uneven movie, yet there are things about it I enjoyed. First and foremost, it co-stars Lance Henriksen, who delivers yet another solid performance (he’s at his cocky best when reporting the break-in to the police). Along with Henriksen, some of the attack scenes, where Max puts his “abilities” to the test, work as intended (especially when he cuts loose on the mailman). But the best sequence occurs when Lori, after realizing Perry and Max can’t stand each other, tries to find the super canine a new home and takes him to live with a guy named Ray (William Sanderson), who owns a junk yard. At the risk of spoiling it, let me say this scene ends with what is easily the film’s most satisfying kill.

Unfortunately, these intense sequences are consistently undercut by the movie’s comedic tone, which often comes across as downright childish; aside from a parrot that blurts out obscenities (ha ha), there’s a scene, where Max and another dog are getting acquainted, that actually features the 1960 Paul Anka tune, Puppy Love! Even more perplexing is the background music, which, at times, is so light and bouncy that it sounds like it was lifted straight out of a Disney picture. According to imdB.com, Man’s Best Friend is a horror comedy, but while it contains some genuinely frightening moments, I can honestly say I didn’t laugh once throughout the entire film.







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