Firehouse Dog (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/07/2007

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 111 mins

Enjoyable, well made family drama with strong performances, an engaging plot, impressive action sequences and a decent script.

What's it all about?
When Hollywood's top-grossing pooch Rexxx (played by four dogs named Arwen, Frodo, Stryder and Rohan) goes missing during a dangerous aerial stunt, he winds up in the care of 12-year-old Shane Fahey (the increasingly ubiquitous Josh Hutcherson), the son of widowed fire chief Connor (Bruce Greenwood). While Rexxx's distraught trainer (Dash Mihok) plans a lavish Hollywood funeral, the plucky mutt is busy becoming a valued member of the firehouse team, thanks to his athletic skills and a nose for rescuing people.

However, when Rexxx's heroics make the national news, his trainer comes looking for him. And there's also the small matter of the station being under threat of closure and an arsonist who seems to be targeting local buildings.

The Good
Hutcherson is superb, easily proving what Hollywood obviously already knows – that he's one of the best child actors currently working. He delivers a genuinely likeable, fully-rounded performance, moving from physical comedy with Rexxx to sparky interaction with his co-stars (including Claudette Mink and Hannah Lochner as a rival firehouse chief and her feisty daughter) to heartfelt emotional scenes with Bruce Greenwood (also excellent, as always).

The script is excellent, expertly juggling several different plot strands without losing sight of any of them. The dialogue is also a cut above the usual family fare with some superb throwaway lines and several laugh out loud gags, particularly the ones at Hollywood's expense.

The Great
Director Todd Holland keeps things moving at a decent pace and orchestrates some exciting action sequences, even if the CGI dog effects are a bit dodgy at times, such as Rexxx skateboarding. The film is also refreshingly free of the mawkish sentimentality that usually scuppers films like this.

Worth seeing?
This is an excellent family movie that kids will enjoy and adults won't resent being dragged to for once. Recommended.

Film Trailer

Firehouse Dog (PG)
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Content updated: 19/09/2018 00:05

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