July 25, 2016

Hearty Paws 2: Doggone It, That Pooch Can Run

A few things I can watch for hours at a stretch: championship tennis on television, the ocean in winter, dogs playing and running anywhere, anyplace, anytime. Director Lee Jung-Chul's Hearty Paws 2 delivers a lot of that last simple pleasure (if not much else). When a Labrador Retriever's runt puppy is stolen by bumbling brother jewel thieves who want to gut it and put diamonds in its eye-holes, that mama dog is seen chasing a truck down Seoul's highways and byways, scampering through the halls of an abandoned building, racing through the woods and an adjacent snake-infested field, and galloping down the freeway in a rainstorm until she collapses from exhaustion (only to be ignored by a passing car). Then after our heroic dog has been rehabilitated by a vet, she's back to running again. She's a beautiful creature, and seeing her in motion is never boring. You sense that she's an incredibly well-trained animal following commands and enjoying every minute of it, even when she's fake-limping after getting shot in the hind quarters. Some dogs really love to act!

But not all dogs. For example, her on-screen offspring, a real fur-ball of unbearable cuteness, isn't relishing his role's requirements as the kidnapped puppy who must suffer all types of indignities. Disturbingly, I sensed that the shivering fetal position the runt takes on numerous occasions wasn't trained so much as induced. And did we really need to see one of the bad guys hold the little doggie by the scruff of its neck. Yuck, that made me wince. The scene between a wild boar mom and the Labrador mom made me wish that either the movie had no human beings in the cast or that all the animals had joined forces to take on mankind. What I feel: In the outside world (outside the movie), people frankly aren't doing such a good job taking care of all God's creatures or the planet which we all inhabit together. It's time for the animals to challenge the hierarchy. Let's let the dogs run the world for a change. Wild boar for vice president.

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