Filmed under the more descriptive title "The Dogboys," this hell-hole movie is an amalgam of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1932) and horror schlock like THE PACK (1977). Action pic cliches clog this escapism's suspense arteries.
After taking part in a barroom brawl, cocky ex-marine Julian Taylor (Dean Cain) gets shoved in a Southern slammer where the convicts, as part of their work duties, help train bloodhounds to discourage prison breakouts. Although the Dogboy program at Retrieve Prison is the brainchild of Capt. Brown
(Bryan Brown), Taylor is trained Pappy (Sean McCann) and Willy B. (Richard Chevolleau).
Willy B. is actually an assistant to local D.A. Jennifer Dern (Tia Carrere), posing as a prisoner in order to investigate Brown, whose bank account is too large for his meager salary. Unable to elicit Taylor's cooperation, Willy B. is bitten to death by Brown's killer-dog, Clyde, after someone
undoes the latch on Clyde's pen. After Willy B.'s demise, Dern confides her suspicions about Brown's financial improprieties to Warden Wakefield (Ken James), not realizing that the Warden and Brown are in cahoots.
Upset about mysteriously disappearing cellmates, Taylor snoops in an off-limits cabin on the prison grounds and learns that Brown has been allowing paying customers to hunt down prisoners for sport. When Dern pays an unannounced visit to the prison, Wakefield reveals to her his true colors. Brown
prepares to eliminate both her and Taylor. Warden Wakefield plans to frame Brown for all the crimes, including the murders of Dern and Taylor. Before Brown can strike back, Wakefield shoots Clyde; Brown retaliates by shooting Wakefield. As he flees Brown, Taylor gives the dog-pack some clothing
coated with Brown's scent; the animals track him down, and Dern arrests him.
Delete all the colorful background matter about dog-training, and TRACKED is just another rip-off of the action world's most recycled screenplay: THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1932). (It's time for some enterprising huckster to do an all-female version or to reset the story in outer space.) On its own
rough-house terms, TRACKED packs a nasty punch in a repetitiously gory way and revs up for some exciting hound pursuits. On the minus side, a snarling Bryan Brown bares his teeth as often as the dogs, and the script fails to camouflage Warden Wakefield's complicity. Recommended for macho-holics
with a high tolerance for brutality and barking. (Graphic violence, extreme profanity, adult situations.)
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