Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kinako: Police Dog Dream | きな子~見習い警察犬の物語~ [ Movie Review ] ***

Kinako: Police Dog Dream is "literally" a true underdog story. It's about a dog who lacks the right stuff to be a police dog but that didn't deter Kinako and it's trainer from trying. According to the press materials, this is a true story. There's a dog somewhere in Japan who had failed numerous times at the police dog exams but it's not giving up just yet.

The real question would be if it's really about a dog who wants to be a police dog? or would it be it's human trainer goal in life?

Meet  Kyoko Mochizuki (Kaho), daughter of a police dog trainer who trained one of the best search dog and had performed difficult search and rescue mission. Eager to fill her daddy's shoes, she enrolled into a police dog training school and encounter Kinako, a golden retriever. The pup's frail body and constant refusal to eat was a problem for the trainers. Kinako was deemed unfit to train in the school and there are plans to put it up for adoption. Everyone given up hope on Kinako except Kyoko Mochizuki. She slowly nursed Kinako back to health and the reversal in Kinako's condition inspired Kyoko to trained Kinako up as a police dog.

See! it wasn't the dog ambition or decision at all. Kinako would probably preferred to chase after butterflies.

The story progress with a strange twist. The trainer decided that Kyoko and Kinako were to represent the police dog training school in a police dog show demonstration. Both lacks adequate trainings and fumble big time at the demonstration. The media was there to capture the failed jump and strangely, Kinako's failure as a police dog captured the attention of the masses. The kids in particular found it endearing and encouragement started pouring in. That spurred Kyoko to train Kinako harder, but our lovable failure just kept on failing. Will Kyoko finally give up on Kinako? or will they go through some sort of baptism of fire so that Kinako could finally unlocked it's learning abilities?

Well the story here takes a rather predictable path. It's not hard to guess what's coming next. But the problem with Kinako: Police Dog Dream isn't it's predictable plot. Hachiko: A Dog's Story was predictable like hell but it was properly constructed to squeeze the tears duct. Kinako: Police Dog Dream don't really build a strong case on why Kinako is such a failure (beside being rather playful). It doesn't show the problems with these two underdogs and they could overcome their obstacles. It just spend too much time on Kyoko's perspective and an unnecessary subplot with Kyoko's senior at the training school just drag the story longer. In fact, the frequent close up on Kyoko and Kinako felt like the movie is banking on their cutesy factors and eye candy to draw the audience in.

Perhaps they should rename this movie as Kyoko: Police Dog Trainer Dream. There's potential with the material at hand but they squandered it by taking the bland and serviceable plot route.

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