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Dog Eat Dog (Blu-ray Review)

Dog Eat DogLegendary filmmaker Paul Schrader directs this “sordid and engaging crime drama” (The Hollywood Reporter) starring Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas) and Academy Award nominee Willem Dafoe (Platoon). Ex-cons Troy (Cage), Mad Dog (Dafoe) and Diesel (Christopher Matthew Cook) are hired by an eccentric mob boss to kidnap a baby for a large ransom. When the abduction goes awry, the trio find themselves on the run from the mob and the cops. Vowing to stay out of prison at all costs, getting away with the crime is literally a matter of life and death.

Dog Eat Dog

Film 

Troy (Nicolas Cage), Mad Dog (Willem Dafoe), and Diesel (Christopher Matthew Cook) are three ex-cons out of prison and ready to go back to civilian life. Yes, it does some getting used to the old ways of being a civilian. What they also lack in civilian life is money. All three ex-cons have their own ulterior motives of wanting to stay in the game after the fact. Sure, they’re on the cusp of slipping and being caught or killed by law enforcement and even by their own friends and especially their enemies.

When a shady mob boss offers them the one job that will set them all up for life the boys jump at the opportunity. They’re to kidnap another mob boss’s baby and hold it for ransom. The job obviously gets botched beyond repair and the guys have to dodge the police and rival mobsters that are coming for their respective heads.

The late Eddie Bunker (Reservoir Dogs) wrote the novel many years ago – had ideas while in prison and used his own life experiences to mold the shape of the novel to come. Paul Schrader (Auto FocusAffliction, Dominion) has come on board to adapt the book, with a screenplay by Matthew Wilder, and to put his director’s stamp on the material. The fact that Schrader was given final cut means that everything goes and is fair play. Dog Eat Dog is such a hyper caper of the film that one cannot help but to grab on and hold on tight. Sure, some scenarios are quite unbelievable but most are so crazy that you have to roll with the proverbial punches.

The film runs at a very brisk 83 minutes, which means that you can knock it out in no time. It’s already known that Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe tend to be unhinged when it comes to crazy material like this but to see Paul Schrader unhinged and given the keys to the castle, well, that’s just more icing the cake. I remember his last directing effort, Dying of the Light, was hampered by the powers-that-be. Dog Eat Dog is rather raw and pure, if we’re going wax all philosophical, which is a good thing and Schrader is a director who should be given some free reign on his directing projects.

Dog Eat Dog is a simple time-waster that entertains with its audaciousness and hyper reality scenarios. It’s a slightly above average crime caper filled with some funny and gruesome moments of carnage and laughs. Oh, and Nicolas Cage does a great impersonation of Humphrey Bogart.

 

 

Dog Eat Dog

Video  

Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail: Dog Eat Dog has an impressive amount of clarity and detail in just about every frame. It may have something to do with the crazy lighting.

Depth: Scoop it up and eat it – as far as depth goes.

Black Levels: The black levels on this Blu-ray are phenomenal and mixed in with the multi-color “hyper-realistic” lighting made me think about Neon Demon. They’re also crush and compression free.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is off the wall! From the opening scenes to the very last scenes – there are times where it looked like a big bag of Skittles had exploded.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones were clean and everyone looked healthy – even for being a couple of junkies.

Noise/Artifacts: I did not spot any instances of noise, dirt, debris, or artifacts.

 

Dog Eat Dog

Audio  

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: Dog Eat Dog on Blu-ray has been blessed with great technical specifications – I was floored by the sound quality – it wasn’t something I was expecting but was blown away by how great the Blu-ray sounded.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE subwoofer channel handled the lows of the hits, gunfire, and seedy club music without any trouble or distortion – the bass levels were tight.

Surround Sound Presentation: The rear surround channels handled everything that was thrown at them – it’s an active sound field, too.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels were ridiculously clear and crisp.

 

Dog Eat Dog

Extras 

Dog Eat Dog is loaded up with a video introduction, a Q&A, director’s commentary, and a photo gallery. My favorite of the special features is Paul Schrader’s commentary. Paul is a hilarious guy and pours himself out in terms of what he went through to get the film made and how he has final cut after his previous directing debacle, where the film was taken away from him and butchered by “putzes.” He pulls no punches. The film is short enough that after I watched it the first time I restarted it with the audio commentary and it was great the second time.

  • Nicolas Cage Video Introduction (HD)
  • Director Audio Commentary
  • BeyondFest Q&A with Nicolas Cage and Paul Schrader (HD)
  • Photo Gallery (HD)

 

Dog Eat Dog

Summary 

Dog Eat Dog was fairly entertaining but it also had parts of inconsistency meshed with insane hyperactivity. The Blu-ray, however, looks and sounds phenomenal! The special feature and Paul Schrader’s audio commentary in particular are more than enough to keep one engaged until the end. Dog Eat Dog gets a mild recommendation.

 

Dog Eat Dog is available on DVD& Blu-ray!

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Dog Eat Dog

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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