Sunday, November 25, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

When someone warns me not to see a movie, I generally take that as further prodding to, you know, immediately bump it to the top of my Instant Queue. Thus is the case with Junkyard Dog, a movie written and directed by Kim Bass, he with many a credit for Kenan & Kel. As anyone who knows my fondness for Good Burger can guess, there was no way I was resisting this movie.

Quick Plot: We are told in text something very infuriating:

“This film was inspired by actual events”

You know what? So was The Blair Witch Project. So was Tremors. So was Death Bed: The Bed That Eats. EVERYTHING is inspired by ‘actual events,’ otherwise where would we even get the ideas in the first place? Someone sat on a bed once. Bam! MAKE A MOVIE OUT OF IT.

Sorry. That and “special appearance by” bother the hemoglobin out of me.

Moving on, we’re introduced to a character maybe eventually named Jed (because he's actually Junkyard Dog or JYD, get it?), who runs a southern junkyard with his trusted pooch. Jed has a few unsavory habits that include abducting young women and imprisoning them in an underground bunker so they can serve him in multiple ways: cooking for him (and his dog), being raped by him, and finally, being cooked by the next girl for him (and his dog).

You might call him efficient.

He’s also, you know, a sadistic killer. Lucky for him, his level of sadism is about as high as cinematic law enforcement’s level of competency, so things generally go his way.

We start with a ditzy college student named Audra committing the cardinal sins of 1) going to a Halloween party dressed as if being goth was a costume 2) driving a Volkswagon bug as if to establish character 3) being smart enough to run out of gas and 4) easily being kidnapped by ‘JYD ' despite the fact that he’s doing his best Michael Shannon impersonation.

Let me tell you something folks: being held prisoner by a sadistic cannibal racist is not very fun. Although she has full access to a hot shower, Audra is otherwise stuck eating canned beans with a plastic fork and bending to Jed’s desires, be they telling the history of her family name or tying up her shirt ‘like Daisy May.’ Worst of all for poor Audra is the terrifying fact that those trying to save her are less qualified to conduct investigations than my cats are to complete the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle.

Vivica A. Fox plays Samantha, an FBI agent coming off a dramatic case that ended in the death of a few bad guys. We’re introduced to Samantha in an unintentionally hilarious scene where her boss tries to aggressively compliment her while she aggressively doesn’t accept. 

It gets better. The first stop on Samantha’s search is a local bar that affords us the luxury of a country line dance break interrupted by Samantha’s big city interrogations. It’s almost adorable.

Through a few ridiculous character moves that don’t involve using handcuffs or calling for backup, Samantha ends up sharing a cell with Audra and embarking on another few days of attempted escape, all of which are poorly planned and do not speak well for the FBI’s training abilities. 

Perhaps that explains the final quote that covers the screen before the end credits:

“According to an FBI behavioral unit study, 85% of the world’s serial killers are in the United States of America.”

No prize to figure out why that might be the case.

High Notes
Though no Cop Dog Kuma, the dog actor is okay...

Low Notes
...except, allow me to go on a canine expert rant here:

Jed’s junkyard dog is played by a Malinois. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s also known as a Belgian Shepherd and looks like this:

These are smart dogs, hence their common use in policework and bomb sniffing. But unlike their German cousins, Malinois are generally of a smaller stature, rarely weighing more than 70 lbs. I’m sure such a dog is a dream actor to work with, but when your dialogue includes scenes of other actors commenting on the dog’s viciousness or enormous size, I’m going to call out some serious canine miscasting here

Thus continues the waste of Brad Dourif in supporting roles in bad movies

Lessons Learned
People food ain’t good for dogs

Maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t leave your CCTV that’s recording the shower of the young woman you’ve kidnapped playing in your office for customers to see

The FBI doesn’t do free

The funny thing about dying is that no one wants to but everyone does--am I missing the joke?

Suicidal tendencies don’t always go well with confinement or a bean diet

The Winning Line
After providing common criminal behavior psychology to explain Jed’s motivation for cannibalism (i.e., power and sexual euphoria), Samantha then gives it her own spin:
“As far as I’m concerned, anybody that kills and then eats his victims is a homicidal maniac who gets his rocks off by murdering people and then eating the evidence.”

Just think about that exchange for a moment. Notice how complicated a statement it tries to be, even though really, it’s just Vivica A. Fox summarizing a textbook theory. If it’s not hitting you as humorous, allow me to rewrite it in the phonetic delivery Fox utilizes:

“As far as I’M concerned...anybody! That KILLS! ...and then EATS!...his victims...

Is a homicidalmaniac who gets his ROCKS OFF by MURDERING people...and then EATING the evidence.”

You see my bliss, right?

Junkyard Dog isn’t a good movie, though for me it worked as more than good entertainment. True, the rape aspect limits some of the fun, but that aside, watching Fox portray such an idiotic FBI agent lends more than a few chuckles, especially when Junkyard Dog hits up Silence of the Lambs for a night vision hunt.

No, I’m serious.


  1. That death bed looks comfortable.

    The best ever joke about the "inspired by real events" title screen is in the slasher spoof Student Bodies, which opens with the statement "this movie was inspired by real events - last year, 25 slasher movies were released and none of them lost money." Theoretically, if you make a movie that rips off Star Wars, you could say it's inspired by the real event of George Lucas and company making Star Wars.

    Oh, I'm debating whether to watch this. I actually saw The Bone Collector and Taking Lives in the theater, and that pretty much soured me on the Silence of the Lambs/Seven ripoff genre, but this might go the other way and become amusing.

  2. EXACTLY Thomas! There was a mean girl in a writer's high school, hence HEATHERS. Someone watched Rear Window and WHOA! Disturbia was born. A kid cried at the circus and Killer Klowns From Outer Space was born. IT MAKES NO SENSE!

    Junkyard Dog is WAY more entertaining than something like The Bone Collector. I mean, it's not good. At all. But REALLY entertaining. On some level.

  3. I am so disappointed. You didn't even mention Jed eating dinner with his dead frozen parents. You just can't get better than that!


    1. How did I forget that?

      You know, now that there's been some distance between me watching this, I'm pretty sure that I loved this movie.