one of the dumbest movies of the 70s- which means, more or less, that it's also awesome
I had to make sure not to lose it too much during the Doberman Gang, because simply put it's got the goofiest premise one could ever think to not imagine: dogs that rob banks. You got it, simply put, and trained by bank robbers who'd rather let the mutts get it done then do it themselves, in an elaborate scheme involving whistles made for each dog, OVER-elaborate training montages teaching the dogs how to, well, jump and bite the crap out of people, and throwing in a really inane romantic triangle between three main characters- the mastermind behind the caper, a waitress, and the dogs' trainer- leading up to an ending that had me laughing my head off not even caring what the hell had just happened. If I tried to explain it all it would make even less sense and one would wonder how in Heaven's name something like this could get funding. Well, it was the 70s, and movies like this filled a niche for kids wanting a quick fix of delirious hijinks and adults wanting a good nap. As an adult myself, however, the delirious part had me from start to finish.
It's not just the dogs and getting trained, or how the robbery is planned and the dogs meant to be dispatched (and the wretched ways the filmmakers get around making it violent, but not quite violent enough for an R at the time), or the extraordinarily cheesy songs (by Alan Silvestri no less!), or that the filmmakers decided to throw in an unbelievably underdeveloped sub-plot involving the three main characters- scuse me, caricatures- or even that one of the bank robbers looks very oddly like Kurt Vonnegut. Actually, it's a sum of this and more, and it's got enough to laugh about for days. There's not a slice of logic to the proceedings, and one can figure on director Bryon Chudnow, who with one obscure exception directed nothing BUT Doberman movies for the rest of his career afterwords (yes, more than one; they even got Fred Astaire for the third movie), likes it that way. Bank robbery, of course, is never an easy thing, but the central joy of the Doberman Gang is that it's meant to look like it's nothing when planned to a T. In the midst of all this, dramatic tension or suspense is at zero, and the line between what may be meant as sick jokes or just so-serious-it's-funny bits (like the dog that, sad to say, get's run over, and the dog that comes by and just snatched up the leftover money).
In truth, some of it is almost too goofy to really get into, and for kids that could in some weird chance come across it today some jokes will fly over heads (Bonnie and Clyde as names of the Dobermans, J. Edgar Hoover as the bulldog, who is maybe the most convincing and well-rounded character in the picture if that says anything). But for a certain section of fans of B-movies of the 1970s looking for something not as trashy or rough as an AIP picture may want to take a glance at this crazy turkey that, unfortunately in this day and age, could conceivably get a remake someday if it has not yet.
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