Obsolete Review: K-9000

Worst Cop / Cyber-Dog buddy movie ever!

The cop-dog buddy movie (TURNER AND HOOCH, K-9, this dreck) is a much-maligned genre of filmmaking magic. In the best cop-dog film, the canine pal becomes closer than a human partner, a true confidant that will take a bullet for ya and still hump your leg after a long day. But it's a genre that seems not to have made it into the new millennium. Perhaps there is a lost innocence in our willingness to believe our favorite stars (Hanks, Belushi, etc.) and their quadrupedal best friends solving urban crimes in the era of suicide drones and biological warfare. But who better to sniff out dirty bombs than man’s best friend? Maybe we just need a gritty, Jason Bourne-style techno-update.

Instead we get K-9000 (speaking of dirty bombs, look out, ahem!). In it, Chris Mulkey (the abusive trucker husband of Shelley the waitress on 'Twin Peaks') plays a mulleted boozer LA cop in the Gibson/Russell vein (minus 75% personality) who is forced to partner with glamorous Euro cyber-scientist Catherine Oxenberg to get to the baddy weapons-smugglers that left his human partner Dennis Haysbert in a coma.

At a top-secret lab bunker housing the “K-9000” project sits in a mysterious box. Oxenberg explains it’s a special technology that involves microchip communication between specially-rigged ‘cyber-dogs’ and computer dispatchers. Only problem? During a shoot-out in the lab, the cyber-dog (a regular-looking German Shepherd) bursts out of his saran-wrap prematurely, and the cyberchip receiver somehow winds up in the loser cop’s head. You read that correctly.

The cop wakes up holding a bottle of Jack in his beach cabana, with the dog staring at him inquisitively. He starts hearing voices – specifically a nebbishy Jewish voice-over asking him how he is feeling and if he would like help with his investigation. Holy shit! The dog is still talking to him, and his mouth doesn’t move. (Cyber-telepathy, natch.) After the requisite throwing the bottle down and trying to sleep it off, the dog keeps hassling him -- and won’t fetch balls either, since its ‘canine brain' area was removed for the chip. Taking it all in stride, the story becomes a KNIGHT RIDER deal -- the cop reluctantly relying on the dog’s techno-skills. Which in this case includes clearing an outside line on a payphone.

It all winds up on Catalina Island, where they track the baddy smugglers to the top of a tower and K-9000 pushes that Euro son-of-a-bitch right off to save Mulkey, dangling from the edge. Partner comes out of coma, Mulkey and Oxenberg recline on the beach, and K-9000 (in sunglasses) remembers how to fetch balls. And suck them. This film might have killed the cop-dog movie for good after all. Only time will tell?