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DVD Review

DVD cover

Diamond Dog Caper


Starring: Luke Benward and French Stewart
High Fliers Films
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: PG
Available 25 April 2011

When a trio of inept diamond thieves stop in a small town for a rest, Owen sees them mistreating their dog. Intervening he offers the dog a drink, before it promptly escapes into the surrounding wood. Owen and the dog are later reunited, but the thieves are in hot pursuit as unknown to Owen they have hidden the diamonds in the dog’s collar...

Diamond Dog Caper (2008 - 1 hr, 43 min, 19 sec) is a family orientated adventure film, much in the spirit of Home Alone (1990). The film was written and directed by Mark Stouffer, a director primarily known for his documentaries.

Like Home Alone the basic premise is solely there to set up a series of visual gags between Owen (Luke Benward) and the very unthreatening criminals, Blackie (French Stewart), Arty (Kelly Perine) and Bud (Kevin P. Farley), with Owen being helped by the anthropomorphised dog and various woodland creatures.

It’s easy to be cynical about such films, true it is designed primarily for a child or young adult audience, but even as an adult I found myself drawn to the gentle humour, even laughing on more than one occasion. This was mainly down to a clever, witty script which avoided becoming mawkish and the acting talents of the main characters, the squirrels included.

I’m not sure who Luke Benward is, as he is at the beginning of his career, but he delivers his lines with conviction and his portrayal of Owen does not feel forced or stagey. Of course the screen is stolen by French Stewart (Third Rock from the Sun) as the epitome of a useless, comic villain - all posture and snarls, without any actual feeling of threat. The film lives in that mythical place where nothing really bad ever happens and if it does it can never really hurt you, it is a peculiar product of American wish fulfilment fantasy culture.

Supporting French are Perine and Farley, whose role is to gesticulate madly whilst providing the prat falls and they do this very well. Owen is helped by the mysterious ‘Madman of the Mountain’ and some CGI’d creatures. Here the CGI is good enough not to jar you out of the story.

It’s hard to know what the finished product will look like as the PR company only provided a DVD-R screener, the picture quality was not great, with the whole thing looking like it had suffered from either a poor original encode or a poor conversion. Nor was the disc provided with any extras.

It’s good to see that some writers and director still want to create quality films, which can be enjoyed by all the family without having to compromise for a particular age group.

The film has some nice pacey direction combined with stylish cinematography from Tom Camarda and a score from Andrew Gross (Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny) which is very reminiscent of John Williams.


Charles Packer

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