Hot! B-MOVIE BINGO: TOP DOG

 Top DogTOP DOG (1995)
Showing Tuesday 3/6/2012 at The Hollywood Theatre

After zany police dog Reno’s partner gets killed doing surveillance at the docks, he is teamed up with tough cop Jake Wilder (Chuck Norris of FOREST WARRIOR).  Why are they teamed up?  Because they have the same police record, of course!  Indeed, they have the same amount of arrests, the same amount of hero medals, and they’ve each been shot in the line of duty four times.  After this unlikely pairing, the film escalates into the zaniest white supremacy action thriller ever committed to film.  Basically, an underground group of neo-nazis have plans to blow up some kind of important racial unity gathering in order to celebrate Hitler’s birthday.  This seems kind of extreme for a dog-genre movie, but once Jake and Reno catch wind of their plans, they unite to become a two-fisted, four-pawed death squad!  You can expect to see some warehouse fights, a montage of Reno wearing different clothes and sunglasses, shipments of illegal weapons and C4, a gang of assassin clowns and more!  Directed by Aaron Norris (Chuck’s brother).

COMMENTARY

TOP DOG was the last Chuck Norris movie to be released in theaters.  By the time this came out in April 1995, the 2nd season of Walker, Texas Ranger was nearing completion, and Norris couldn’t have been less cool to moviegoers.  This film bears the stamp of the team of people that helped him make the Walker series, most notably his brother Aaron who directed numerous episodes.  Thus, it’s made-for-TV look begins to make sense.  Norris’ next movie, FOREST WARRIOR, went straight to video, as did the rest of his films through 2005 (he also did a few TV movies for CBS).  He announced his retirement from movie making after THE CUTTER in 2005, to spend time with his family and write books.  Later this year Chuck will be back on the big screen for his first wide-release movie since TOP DOG in the second installment of THE EXPENDABLES franchise.  Rumor has it that he refused to be in the movie unless the producers of the film agreed to tone down its vulgar, R-rated language (link to article).  The producers agreed, which is weird because who knew that Chuck still pulled so much weight after all these years?

Footnote: While trying to find out how many episodes of Walker Aaron Norris directed, I saw a trend in his career that I could correlate directly to Chuck’s.  I discovered that Aaron’s directorial debut was BRADDOCK: MISSING IN ACTION III from 1988.  He went on to direct every Chuck Norris film after that, and with each we saw Chuck’s career slide closer and closer to the dreaded direct-to-video bin.  The lesson: Hollywood nepotism is rarely always a good thing.

But enough stuffy analysis.  Here’s the action-packed trailer for the superb film TOP DOG!