Film Review – Red Dog: True Blue (2016)

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Title – Red Dog: True Blue (2016)

Director – Kriv Stenders (Red Dog)

Cast – Levi Miller, Bryan Brown, Jason Isaacs, Hanna Mangan Lawrence, Thomas Cocquerel

Plot – Tells the story of the beginnings of legendary Australian canine Red Dog and his adventures with young bog Mick (Miller) on a remote Australian stock farm as the two find each other at the perfect time and become friends for life.

“I think we’re going to be best mates”

Review by Eddie on 14/12/2016

In 2011, Australian film Red Dog became an instant classic of the locally tinged variety. It’s clever use of a popular Aussie true story, mixed with a liberal dose of creative licence, loveable characters, laugh out loud moments and of course an incredibly cute canine, it was an all-round winner grossing more than $21 million at the local box office and countless more home video sales.

Despite Red Dog’s huge success, it never felt like a film that needed or warranted either a sequel or a prequel, but heading into the peak Australian cinema time of Boxing Day and the X-Mas holidays we have exactly that with prequel adventure Red Dog: True Blue.

Returning to the directors chair is Kriv Stenders, whilst our canine friend is this time played by newcomer Phoenix, who replaces the original film’s four legged star Koko who sadly passed away in the time between these films, and while True Blue may not be the out of nowhere winner like the first outback adventure, this entry certainly succeeds in enough ways that’s its likely this new big screen outing will be a real winner this holiday period for families.

Heading back to the beginnings of Red Dog (here named Blue) and his start to life on a stock farm run by Bryan Brown’s grumpy yet kindly farm owner and his grandson Mick played by Levi Miller, True Blue does an amicable job of showing the make-believe birth of a legend while the clever narrative structure of the story being told by a grown up Mick (here portrayed by Jason Isaacs) after he witnesses Red Dog on the big screen with his two young boys, and whilst it fails a little bit in constructing a real true narrative hook, the simple joys of Blue’s adventures with Mick in the wide open spaces of the Australian outback is more than enough to suffice.

The films weaker elements stem from Miller’s somewhat disappointing turn as Mick and following on from the lacking Pan, young Miller isn’t getting the greatest start to his budding career, especially as he struggles to really gel with his 4-legged screen partner, and with Mick taking up a large portion of True Blue’s screen time, his turn does weigh down on the overall vibe of the picture, even if the films supports do fine jobs in their often limited opportunities.

Maintaining much of the originals charm, wit, larger than life characters and heart (plus a few watery eye moments) with the addition of a once more great locational setting, True Blue may not be up to matching the first outings output but this fun Australian made adventure is likely to become a new family favourite and a deserving holiday hit that does enough to suggest a third Red Dog entry may not be the worst of ideas.

3 orange trees out of 5

Red Dog: True Blue opens in Australian cinemas on December 26th

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