Fantasia 17: “Savage Dog” (2017) ★★★

Sometimes it’s great just sitting and watching an action movie without overloaded with heavy dialogues, drama and overwhelming emotions. It’s like watching old and beloved movies with martial arts where only fighting skills matter.

Martin (Skott Adkins) is an ex-IRA member serving time in an Indonesian jail. Set in 1959s Indo-China, he is forced to join to an underground fight lead by the head of the prison and cruel Rastignac (Marko Zaror). For that, he was released from prison enjoying his free life. Befriending Valentino and his adopted daughter, Isabelle, Martin is ready to begin a new life, and an outside threat arrives to his house to destroy all what he loved and cared for. But if not for that, the Indo-China people would have never known about a hero soon to be born…

The land shown in the movie has no rules. It’s brutal and has no mercy or empathy. It kills anyone without hesitation, and those who disobey face even tougher and unimaginable fate. Martin is a person who is willing to fight as he well realizes the real price of freedom. When he was released from prison where he expected to spend the most part of his life, an offer comes from Steiner (Vladimir Kulich) who describes his expectations to Martin as clearly as he could.

As the story unfolds, Martin, who already got employed in Valentino’s bar as a bouncer, finds the needed peace in the arms of Isabelle. Seemingly nothing can stand between their happiness. Shortly after a fight in the bar begins, which eventually leads to him, unwilfully though, to fight in the tournament when after one particular fight he finds himself shot and his friends killed by Rastignac.

Savage Dog written and directed by Jesse V. Johnson is an excellent way to welcome an easygoing action movie with stellar fighting scenes. As you watch one scene after another, excellent choreography and sound will amaze the audience. What is also decent about Johnson’s movie is it does not promise anything outstanding, aims low, but reaches high so swiftly, I am sure you will be able realize after watching it. Again, Savage Dog might not be a masterpiece, but it’s a solid movie that I hardly believe somebody can ever dislike.

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