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I sat down to watch El Perro on a late TV showing, I had never heard of it but a friend recommended it and I had nothing better to do anyway; and soon I found myself deeply engrossed into the story. It is in structure a very simple chase story, but the struggle between Jason Miller's laconic fugitive and the larger-than-life, metaphorical dog following his footsteps has an epic proportion. Every time you think the film has run out of ideas, something happens to keep you interested; it contains some great action scenes, but also a resounding political message (the director, Spaniard Isasi, meant the dictator to be an alter ego of Francisco Franco). This film shows how much a small budget can be stretched with imagination and intelligence.
I'm trying to figure out what this film is doing in a DVD collection called Tales of Voodoo where its paired with a movie called Scorpion Thunderbolt (which is about a killer snake-man) since the two films have nothing in common and this film has nothing to do with voodoo. I've tried to work out the connection, but I'm not sure I'll ever figure it out. I'm just glad it happened since I would not have run across this very good tale of a political prisoner on the run. Jason Miller stars as the prisoner who manages to escape from a prison work detail when an accident on the road gives him a chance to flee. He is pursued and is recaptured, but circumstance again gives him an opportunity for freedom, which he takes, only he still finds himself being chased by one of the dogs. Far from as simple or as simple minded as I've made it out to be this is a good thriller/allegory. Things don't always go the way you expect (especially if you're like me and were expecting a schlocky exploitation film). This is a movie thats both entertaining and enlightening. Certainly worth trying f you're in the mood for something other than typical exploitation fare.
when i first saw this movie i was 8 years old and that was in 1985..believe or no i loved that movie and i still have it now even if i am 27 years old now..the story is telling you that wither the master of the dog is bad or good the dog will follow his master and go after the who murdered his master even if he is innocent. The dog will go after him and will cross hundred of miles to get to him but at the end something really sad will happen...i recommend this movie for those of who loves to see the loyalty of the dog that really deserve to call "The Best Friend". The dogs always and will still the mans best friend. I also hope that you like the movie and it contain some music clips that really nice to hear..
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Based on a novel titled "Como Un Perro Rabioso" (Like a Rabid Dog),
this film is equal parts linear storytelling and metaphor. The film's
premise is that of a political thriller/chase film taking place in
Central America, unique in that the main pursuer is a tenacious canine
that makes the shark in Jaws 4 look downright passive. A couple of
scenes lack credibility (for ex. the doggedly pursued hero finds
opportunity for not one, but two romantic interludes), but then the
film draws the viewer back in with it's directorial skill.
This appears to be a Spanish film dubbed for the North American video market (released during the 80's as "Vengeance"). Jason Miller (Toy Soldiers) stars and a few of the cast may be English speaking as well, so though poor lip syncing is often evident in dubbed films, it's not very noticeable here. Also by virtue of being a foreign film made during the 1970's, the production doesn't appear to have operated under the same stringent U.S. guidelines that look out for the welfare of animal thespians, as a result some scenes appear convincingly brutal. Dog lovers may want to avoid this film.
Though elements of Vengeance would make some label it an exploitation film, it has a haunting visual style that is fascinating. The same can be said for the musical score, and the editing is first rate creating great tension. Action scenes are very skillfully staged and Jason Miller seems to have done most of his own stuntwork, evidenced by the fact only one name is listed as stuntman in the closing credits. Miller gives a nice subtle performance that may be under appreciated, but deserves accolades for the pure physicality of the role alone. Which brings us to the canine actor. The breed used is a German Shepherd and whoever the trainer for this animal was, they and the dog deserve great recognition for a job well done, the dog engages in every manner of acting and action, and as the film hinges on the animal's performance they come through with flying colors. Unfortunately neither the trainer nor the dog (or dogs) employed are listed in the credits. The "perro"'s glare is also strangely hypnotic, as anyone who owns a large breed dog can tell you, these animals can sometimes engage in staring fits and it's used to great effect here.
A man called Arístides Ungria (Jason Miller) escaping from his
imprisonment in a South American dictatorship , pursued by the Beast
that will haunt him and destroy those around him until he ultimately
confronts his destiny at a deadly duel . The desperate fugitive chased
by a cruel warden (Francisco Casares) defends himself against the nasty
dog that is severely beaten , running from the past , pursued by a
cruel animal , the beast that stops at nothing to carry out the order
to kill . Aristides hits strongly the dog (a well trained and
non-mistreated German Shepherd) and is left for dead but comes back
ever stronger , with long fangs and jaws and a single-minded bloodlust
. The protagonist goes home living a woman (Yolanda Farr) and her
daughter and the dog continues attacking , but circumstance again gives
him an opportunity for freedom , which he takes , solely he still
encounters himself being pursued by the terrible animal . The dog goes
after him and will cross hundred miles to get to him . Aristides
attempts to arrive the city where thinks encounter his sweetheart named
Muriel (Lea Massari , this role was firstly offered Jean Seberg but she
turned it down , that's why the looking for a dog took long time) .
Meanwhile , he recalls his past on relationship with her and to getaway
he disguises as a priest (like in ¨The Exorcist¨ starred by Miller as
the exorcist reverend and directed by Friedkin) . He travels across a
desolate landscape to the big town in search of his wife , being
relentlessly chased by a doomed dog possessed of an ancient evil that
will not die until it has devoured the heart and possessed the soul of
its prey . Arístides Ungria is helped by the besieged resistance formed
by a brave group of freedom fighters (Marisa Paredes , Antonio Mayans ,
José Vivó , Manuel De Blas) . Finally , Ungria will confront a heinous
officer (Aldo Sambrell) and the gruesome dog .
This is a moving story about pursuits , including a political denounce about South American dictatorships ; dealing with a violent tale of a convict on the run , a prisoner in South America who manages to escape and is chased throughout the country by a bloodthirsty dog . A chase across a landscape of terror where there is no friend , no refuge , no respite from merciless violence and cruelty , there is only the hunter and the hunted . Jason Miller stars as the hapless prisoner , he is acceptable and his action scenes are well played . The mythic secondary from Spaghetti Western , Aldo Sambrell , is good as the sadistic villainous , as always . The structure film is pretty plain and simple , but concerns about the relentless pursuit and fighting among a fugitive and a savage dog following his footsteps . This first version develops a political intrigue with dictatorship , a dictator called Leónidas , included a resounding message . Atmospheric cinematography by Juán Gelpi , shot on location in hydraulics constructions as Bolarque , Entrepeñas , Buendía , Ataza and Madrid and Miranda , Caracas , Venezuela . Including a nice cinematographer work , using subjective camera , filmed under dog viewpoint . Adequate and suspenseful musical score by Antón Garcia Abril who formerly composed the famous soundtrack of the ¨Templar Zombies¨ films directed by Amando De Ossorio . And adding a wonderful song sung by Angela Carrasco .
The picture is based on a novel with same title by successful Spanish author , an adventure expert and prolific author called Alberto Vazquez Figueroa who gets numerous cinematic adaptations , such as : ¨Manaos¨ , ¨The Iguana¨ , ¨Ocean¨ , ¨The Last Harem¨, ¨Oro Rojo¨ , ¨El Perro¨ and ¨Rottweiler¨ . As it was remade in 2004 as ¨Rottweiler¨ with similar plot , as political prisoner in a dictatorship escapes and is pursued throughout the country by a bloodthirsty dog reinforced with modern technology . This new adaptation is an extremely violent film with noisy action , stirring thriller and lots of blood and gore . Being directed by Brian Yuzna and stars William Miller , Irene Montalà , Paulina Gálvez , Lluís Homar and Paul Naschy .
The director was defending his name and career , but also his money in more ways than one , as he was one of the producers investing in the project and it achieved a big hit smash at Spanish box office . Antonio Isasi Isasmendi is a good professional , a craftsman who has directed several films in diverse genres , as adventures and , especially , action , such as : ¨The dog¨ 1979 , 1972 ¨Summertime Killer¨ , 1968 ¨Las Vegas, 500 millions¨ , 1963 ¨The mask of Scaramouche¨ , 1958 ¨Rapsodia De Sangre¨ . "El Perro¨ results to be a surprisingly solid little film , including some action scenes very skillfully staged . Decent action/thriller is worth trying . This is a movie that's both entertaining and enlightening . Certainly worth watching if you're in the mood for something other than typical exploitation fare .
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