"Last of the Dogmen"
Opened: September 8, 1995
Why a studio would green-light a picture so paint-by-the numbers predictable that anyone could shout out the next line of dialogue at any moment and be right 80 percent of the time is a mystery. But somebody in Hollywood gave the go-ahead to "Last of the Dogmen," and it opened in theaters yesterday.
Writer-director Tab Murphy wrote himself into a trap with this script. It's the story of bounty hunter Tom Berenger ("Major League") and anthropologist Barbara Hershey ("Falling Down") who hike in to the Montana back country and come across a lost tribe of Cheyenne Indians. This is a "yeah, sure" concept to begin with, but Murphy still mixed in every white-man-meets-injun cliche he could muster.
We have the injured hero cured by Cheyenne medicine. We have the injured Indian cured by Western medicine. We have the "good trade" scene between the fierce Indian warrior and the hero...ad nauseam.
But the reason "Last of the Dogmen" really falls apart is because the script ignores the obvious in favor of the absurd whenever it comes to the protection of the elusive tribe.
These Cheyenne have killed several white men who have stumbled onto them over the years, yet when they come across Berenger and Hershey, who are actively looking for them, they escort the interlopers straight to their village.
When our hero realizes other white men looking for him are getting near, instead of just going out to meet them thus ending the search and preventing the discovery of the tribe, he runs off with some dynamite to "create a diversion."
The resolution that follows is even more absurd, with one enormous, obvious, open-ended question that, conveniently, nobody asks the bounty hunter when he returns to civilization.
Berenger and Hershey are not at fault here. They do what they can with what they were given, but both of them must be pretty hard up to sign on for a stinker like this.
Adding insult to injury, "Last of the Dogmen" has an inane and unnecessary narration which again and again overstates the painfully obvious, and a gratuitous soundtrack that thunders in to remind the audience of the splendor of the landscape and the nobility of the brave Cheyenne tribe. Both are enough to inspire cries of "Enough already. We got it!"
This review appeared in the Daily Republic, Fairfield, CA.
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