Underlining what is in essence a road movie with social commentary is what gives Dog some of its bark. It’s a comment on the abandonment of US soldiers after their tours of duty mixed with a tale of redemption and acceptance. It’s also a film where Channing Tatum finds love albeit with a member of the canine kingdom.
The setup is simple. Jackson Briggs (Tatum) is a war veteran who is tasked with taking a military service dog Lulu to the funeral of the dog’s handler and his fellow Army Ranger who has died by suicide. Briggs had served with both dog and soldier. Both are suffering, Briggs from the after-effects of head trauma and Lulu from PTSD.
Lulu is tightly wound and hyper-aggressive and the beginnings of their road trip are fraught with animosity between both former Rangers. The hijinks that come with the genre, while predictable are often time amusing and it’s a pleasure to see the two find redemption in their growing relationship.
Tatum plays things like he always does but it’s good to see his character finally find true love even if it is with a member of the animal kingdom. The undercurrent of the danger of cutting trained killers loose after conflict with little or none of the tools to adapt to civilian life gives this entertaining film a solid reason to be.