Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Sometimes, my friends, when The Asylum and the SyFy Channel get together, the results aren't so good.  We get movies like 'Battle of Los Angeles' and 'MegaFault'.  Then sometimes when they get together the results aren't so bad… while still not good… but we get stuff like 'Zombie Apocalypse' and… well… today's movie 'Battledogs'.  Sure, the title is terrible, but if going in you were to tell me that the worst thing about a SyFy / Asylum joint is going to be its title, then we would call that a very good day.

Donna (Ariana Richards) isn't feeling very good on this day.  She's woozy and her vision is hazy and she looks like warmed over hell as she walks through New York's JFK airport.  She runs into the bathroom to get herself together, checks out the festering would on her arm which any semi-responsible NTSB agent should've caught, and promptly turns into a man eating wolf beast.  I mean Donna is seriously messing some stuff up in this airport.  The bad news is that those she didn't kill turned into wolf beasts themselves.  This isn't good.

Fortunately for us hardcore army General Christopher Monning (Dennis Haysbert) is on the job and he has secured the airport, disabled the beasts who turn back into humans when their heart rate slows, and rounded them up for some internment camp special treatment.   Also on the job of this potential pandemic is virologist Major Brian Hoffman (Craig Scheffer) and unlike the general, he sees these people as people, not the potential murdering, pandemic spreading beasts that they happen to be.  Also aware this situation is President Sheridan, as played by actor Bill Duke.  Coolest casting of a U.S. President ever.  In fact, when Ernie Hudson shows up later on in this movie as the head of security at JFK, we have probably the best cast ever assembled for an Asylum movie, much less a SyFy original movie. 
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So we have these humans which turn into unstoppable wolf beasts when agitated… what do we do with them?  Well, if you're General Monning, you think of a way weaponize it is what you do.  Sure, releasing a beast upon the battle field that has the viral potential to destroy the entire planet, on top of infecting the enemy with the same disease, basically turning them into this weapon might seem suspect, but the General has mentally ironed out most of the kinks. 

Couple of problems with the Generals immediate plans.  One is that he needs patient Zero, that being Donna, so he can cultivate a potential serum.  Then there's Major Hoffman whose all bleeding heart and stuff and looks like he won't be on board for the weaponinzing deployment initiative, so he needs to be eliminated.  Also he might have an issue with the CDC rep Dr. Gordon (Kate Vernon) who also thinks turning wolf beasts into weapons is a bad idea.  Liberals… I tell you.  Know what's a bad idea?  Commie Bastards!  That's what!

Bad ideas aside, all hell has broken loose.  The Wolf Beasts are loose in NYC, Donna, Major Hoffman and Dr. Gordon are free, but are being ruthlessly hunted by the General and his right hand man Colonel Falcons (Wes Studi), and The President needs to make damn sure that these beasts don't make it off of Manhattan Island.  Can you say Nuke New York?  We can, and we also think that would've been a better title.  The countdown is on.

Did we enjoy 'Battledogs' here at the FCU?  Sure we did.  Why?  Well, the snarky answer would be that compared to its SyFy brethren it didn't suck nearly as hard, but we're not the snarky types here at the FCU and delve into complex reasons for the judgments we make.  Let's start with the cast we mentioned, since one of the main complaints usually levied at these movies is the somewhat shoddy acting… Bill Duke as the Prez?  Come on now, he even quoted Henry the IV in this.  Dennis Haysbert and his deep voice on one hand making you feel comfortable, compelling you to buy car insurance, but at the same time disgusting you with his werewolf weaponizing agenda?  Only a solid thespian could pull that off.  And while Craig Sheffer is no Dennis Haysbert, he held his own.  Another thing that tends to sink these movies is the shoddy CGI.  Well… it's not great, but it is better than usual.  Close-Ups of our battledogs were actually pretty good.  Distance shots and Batttledogs in motion, not so much.  Even the helicopter shots, which we know were mostly CGI were pretty good, and we had some real world car accidents to deal with, as opposed to CGI, which we always appreciate.

Other stuff that made 'Battledogs' better than average… You like gore?  Say like beasts ripping out throats, or soldiers blasting people's heads off?  We go it here.  You like action?  Be it by air, sea, and land… we got action almost non-stop in this movie.  First time director Alexander Yellen might not be the second coming of noted action director Antoine Fuqua, but we have to admit with the budget limitations I'm sure he was saddled with, he's off to a solid start.

Naturally the movie isn't a bedrock of common sense, as far as a narrative is concerned… say like running down a long hall to deliver a critical, time sensitive message to The President as opposed to just calling him, in addition to other narrative oddities.  I don't think any official army vehicles would be Jeep Patriot's and Liberty's, despite their awesomely patriotic names, I know the General said 'boots on the ground' is how wars are won, but ground attacks against a legion of werewolves… that's bad strategy right there.  And unless the Battledogs are long distance swimmers, which they very well could be, probably don't need to nuke Manhattan to contain them. 

All that aside, we were entertained by 'Battledogs', hugely so.  It's almost a good movie.  Almost.
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