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Johnny Mad Dog, maybe 15, leads a band of boy soldiers in a civil war in an unnamed African country. "Don't want to die? Don't be born" is one of their shouted mottoes. We follow Mad Dog and his crew - No Good Advice, Butterfly, Chicken Hair, and others - as they kill, pillage rape, interrogate, and terrorize on their march to the capital. They take a TV station and lead an assault on the President's residence. We also follow Laokole, about Johnny age, as she tries to hold together her family of brother and disabled father. Is there more than chaos and inhumanity here? At war since age 10, has Johnny anything inside? Written by
This is a well-made movie, to be sure, with particularly good cinematography that takes you right into the heart of a war zone and never breaks away from it for a second. But it's also an utterly depressing viewing experience, and I hated almost every second of watching it. I wonder if the director would have done better by presenting this as a documentary explaining some of the background of the conflict.
JOHNNY MAD DOG follows a group of child soldiers, led by the titular character, as they wreak havoc in Liberia. They're part of a rebel uprising whose goal is to overthrow the president and all those who side with him, and what follows is 90 minutes of rape, cold-blooded murder, and general mayhem.
The film is devastating and headache-inducing. There are no glimmers of hope here, no comedy, just unending bleakness. 90% of the dialogue is shouted at the top of the voice and the violence goes on forever, forcing the viewer to become part of the depravity. Needless to say, none of the characters are sympathetic and I spent most of the time hoping for it to end.
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