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
I've been drawn to Johnny Mad Dog by the fact that Mathieu Kassovitz was one of the producers. Despite his escapades with Hollywood he was able to amass a fine body of work, so i was curious what he got involved with this time.
I saw this movie as a powerful docudrama that shows the realities of a prolonged civil war in Subsaharan Africa. It follows the protagonists in a cold, almost detached, matter-of-fact way. When you give weapons to kids life becomes a simple but deadly game. The movie offers no answers, since it seems there are no answers. In this sense it is similar to Kassovitz's movie Hate (1995).
But the strongest message is that this topic has been known for decades. As if the civil wars in Africa were a part of local folklore and there is nothing to be done about it.
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