Sophia Del Pizzo and SG Action’s own Martin Wan also star. Watch the official trailer for Dog below and stay tuned for its release!
DOG official teaser ‘BRUTAL’ from SUPER MASSIVE on Vimeo.
A gangster’s pet hitman is charged with baby sitting a building and the only thing stopping him going mad is an old gameboy and his noodles. One night a young woman looking for a flame for her drugs and a pillow for her head changes his whole universe.
Leeds-based stunt team, SG Action is one whose works I’ve spoken heavily of in the last two years, and although it’s taken roughly another year or so, their latest shortfilm effort is finally gaining some traction in 2014 film festival circuit. Directed and produced by Robin Schmidt, Dog is a collaboration between the team and indie film production company, Supermassive, and was originally a two-part music video featuring hip-hop artist Dream McClean before it became a collective effort to build a larger shortfilm narrative following a successful Indiegogo funding run last year. The move was also Schmidt‘s chance to try something new for the UK market since there are not a lot of films of its kind made locally, and while budgetary concerns were an issue, Dog was still pretty impressive.
Simon Wan plays the title role it its Chinese iteration, Gao, a psychologically cracked and maniacal gang enforcer who obeys the commands of his boss, as well as that of his handler, Xian, played by Simon’s brother, actor and stuntman Martin Wan. The story kicks off right away with McClean‘s special appearance aiding in the introduction to Gao as he relentlessly raids a pimp’s hideout, single-handedly taking out everyone in the room. Unfortunately, Gao is forced to stay at the hideout as punishment for not killing the pimp and his men as ordered, and is left by himself to watch place with nothing more than a package of noodles and a Nintendo Game Boy to keep himself from completely going insane.
From there, we are introduced to actress Sophia Del Pizzo who plays Sophia, a drug-addicted prostitute who also happened to be staying at the hideout prior to Gao’s arrival. Their surprise introduction to each other leads to an uneasy co-existence whereby Gao allows her to stay as long as she provides him new batteries regularly, and the film eventually montages its way through with Sophia and Gao building a unique bond beyond their awkward, flawed and destructive chemistry, aside from the language barrier they share. Their relationship eventually reaches a boiling point that forces Gao to confront his humanity from time to time, often illuminating his struggle to be a compassionate, able-minded human being while identifying what it means to be “honorable”. That honor begins to take shape after he is relinquished of his time-out and assigned to a job, only to return to see Xian raping her, leading to a climactic showdown that will incidently determine Gao’s fate, as well as Sophia’s.
I’ve had the opportunity to screen at least two versions of this shortfilm with this being the second. Both shared different characteristics in editing while Schmidt continually worked out the kinks these many months to make his latest project solid for its delivery. Having seen its final version, I can honestly say that were it given a bigger budget, the U.K. would have had something major on its hands as a great feature film for the niche.
Dog showcases a gritty, dark and entertaining action concept that presents Simon and Sophia in a suitable story with good acting and plenty of editing ornamentations to keep the viewer otherwise stimulated, in addition to solid fight action from SG Action’s own, stunt coordinator Chris Jones, with performances from the team, as well as Martin in the final fight. The various audio crescendos, VFX tweaks and pacing were also a good tool in helping craft this low-budget fare into something worthwhile, granting a sense of artistic quality that would not be there if Schmidt wasn’t as tenacious as he was before finally letting the public see his work. Clearly there is a level of care here, and it while one can only hope that a project like this is garnered with greater prospects and accolades, it goes to show that when done with passion and love, the final result can be pretty rewarding.
The shortfilm has already received numerous nominations and runner-ups internationally between North America and Indonesia, and more selections are underway before its online airing.
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