DVD Dogs of Chinatown

DVD Dogs of Chinatown
DVD Dogs of Chinatown

Run time: 90 min
Rating: 6.8
Genres: Action
Director: Micah Moore
Stars: Eric Jacobus, Huyen Thi, Ray Carbonel
When a war breaks out between the Italian Mafia and Chinese Triad, Boss Wu needs someone to infiltrate Little Italy. Enter Jack, a lonely desperate soul at the end of his rope who is groomed into the Triad’s top assassin. But as the hard-boiled killer rises to the top, he falls for Boss Wu’s favorite mistress, Jin, putting both their lives at risk. Now Jack must battle his way through the Mafia and the Triad to be with the woman he loves. Written by Blake Faucette
Plot Keywords: martial arts, gangster, gunfight, violence, bare chested male
Country: USA
Release Date: 2010 (USA)


  1. I just saw a screening of this movie at my college last night, and Micah Moore (the director) was there to do a Q&A. The movie started out kind of slow and awkwardly, but once the audience (pretty much entirely college students) got into it, it was very entertaining. Moore had a good sense of humor about the quality of the movie. He said he wanted to go ahead and make an all-out exploitation film that was completely ridiculous, and it worked. Some of the scenes that weren't naturally funny became funny just because of how awkward they were. The plot isn't necessarily creative or fantastic, but there is a plot there, at least. And the acting is pretty cheesy, because they cast stunt men instead of real actors. The fight scenes are actually really impressive and well-choreographed. That's the good thing about kung-fu and martial arts movies: you can actually see and follow the action, because it isn't cut choppily like in some blockbuster action movies. It's just a good martial-arts gangster movie that you can laugh at.

  2. Dogs of Chinatown starts out with a man named Jake contemplating suicide (of course, we never learn exactly why Jake feels the need to suck on a handgun, but I digress) until he happens upon a beautiful Chinese woman being kidnapped by the Mob. After disposing of the two goons, Jake is recruited by the leader of the Chinese mob, Mr. Woo, to work for him as an assassin. Unfortunately, it turns out that there's one tiny fly in the ointment: Jake might be good at blowing the bad guys away Michael Corleone style, but he can't fight his way out of a wet bag made of Kleenex. He is sent to train with a drunken martial artist (presumably to learn martial arts, but only gains the ability to VO quotes from Sun Tzu). During the film, Jake is torn between his loyalty toward his boss and his desire for Mr. Woo's mistress, while the audience is still left wondering why in the name of Ed Wood's knickers Jake's mentor is written more as a bratty college student than something resembling a halfway competent martial artist.

    While plots in Hong Kong action films are always somewhat flimsy, Dogs of Chinatown takes the cake. At first, the film progresses with no real narrative as Jake is sent on unrelated hits that in no way shape or form have any bearing on the plot. During the first half of the film, the rules of basic script writing are flouted with nauseating regularity as plot threads and characters are introduced only to be forgotten moments later. Often, the film ignores basic logic by having the protagonist, despite being touted as the scariest hit-man in town, regularly bungle his assignments in a myriad of ways, leaving behind a ton of evidence, while somehow staying employed and out of jail.

    Eventually, the film remembers that most people expect some kind of narrative cohesion, at which point it tries to morph into a John Woo film, but without most of the things that people look for in them. Like action. Dogs of Chinatown has got to be the single dullest action film I have seen in a while, and I sat through freaking Conner's War. At one point, the film pulls a No Action Sequence For Old Men and decides not to actually show the audience what is insinuated to be an awesome gun battle, but makes sure that we see the following yawn fest of a fistfight. What little action exists is serviceable, but oftentimes makes no sense. In one scene, a goon has a gun drawn on a man sent to kill him, but instead decides to drop the gun to get into a fistfight which concludes with his neck being broken. The crowning moment of stupid rears its head when our 'hero' is mortally wounded, but somehow manages to get up and take down an entire criminal enterprise in a mixture of gunfights and brawls without any indication of feeling pain.

    Hampering the action even further is the miserable sound effects. Ordinarily I wouldn't say anything, given that DoC sometimes seems to be a few sliding cardboard doors and Styrofoam boulders away from having a budget comparable to the original Star Trek series, but I call extenuating circumstances on this one. When watching the film, I came to a rather shocking realization: the sound effects in the trailer are actually superior to those used in the finished film. It's not uncommon for trailers to contain unfinished pieces of the movie, sometimes making use of stock sound effects, which results in the trailer looking and sounding inferior to the actual film. This film, on the other hand, is actually technically inferior to the trailer.

    Since most of Dogs of Chinatown doesn't involve action, one would think that more care was put into the rest of the film. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Dialogue is incredibly ham fisted for the most part, using up every action movie cliché in the book, and the actual delivery manages to somehow make them even worse, which in this film's case says more than it is safe to contemplate without experiencing a reaction akin to looking at Great Cthulhu. The most prominent offenders were a woman who, despite being cast as a member of the Chinese mob, spoke with an English accent so thick it could only be cut with a diamond drill and a man speaking with the most hilariously fake Russian accent since Sean Connery in Hunt for Red October. The performances for many of the characters are almost uniformly cringe worthy, particularly 'the General'. Whenever he is on screen, he chews the scenery in a way that defies description, but unfortunately his performance doesn't ever cross over into the realm of being unintentionally entertaining. The only saving grace of the entire film is the actor playing Mr. Woo, who manages to convey the weakest of lines as if he were channeling a more intimidating version of Uncle Hoi from Hard Boiled.

    Dogs of Chinatown attempts to develop a visual style, but all this really boils down to is the film going black and white while shining different colored lights on certain objects a la Sin City. The problem with these stabs at artistry is that they feel completely random. Most visual tricks of this nature have a purpose to them, but here it crops up without any rhyme or reason, and more often than not it winds up looking like something that even Zack Snyder would think looked overdone.

    In the end, Dogs of Chinatown is an awful film. The script is poorly written, the directing is generally on par with that of the average porno, and the action is boring. Dogs of Chinatown doesn't end with a bang, but whimpers all the way to the final fade to black.

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