A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this TV movie has a few scenes of actual, people-on-people violence, including the beginning, when Karate Dog's master is killed by masked assassins, and one scene in which Karate Dog is wrestled away to the pound by a gratuitous animal control officer. When Karate Dog is fighting, the scenes look more like a video game than anything else and are less frightening -- but no less violent. There's also mild sexual innuendo, mostly among the dogs, of a sort that might be difficult to explain to young kids.
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What's the story?
When Karate Dog's master (Pat Morita) is killed, the wise-cracking dog – whose real name is Cho-Cho (voiced by Chevy Chase) -- must team up with a geeky cop (Simon Rex) to solve the crime. The killer is a former student of Karate Dog's master who's now out to use a secret formula to sell eternal youth. Karate Dog will also help his new friend get the girl (Jaime Pressly) after the obligatory Cyrano de Bergerac scene. Of course, no one besides the cop knows the dog can talk.
Is it any good?
This is The Karate Kid meets Turner and Hooch, with a dash of James Bond -- and it doesn't even come close to any of them. Action scenes lifted from Mission: Impossible, The Matrix, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon are shoehorned into the plot, which otherwise resembles nothing so much as an old Charlie's Angels episode. Any kid old enough to have seen the films and get the joke is too old to appreciate it.
Karate Dog switches from one genre to the next with lightning speed and a blatant disregard for its limp storyline. The talents of Chevy Chase and John Voight are wasted. Do yourself a favor and don't invest your family's movie time in Karate Dog.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Karate Dog's computer-generated martial arts prowess and how that's created, or how a talented comedian like Chevy Chase ends up in a movie like this (Do you think it's all about the money? Do you think he was more inclined to do it because you only hear his voice? Could someone have made a funny movie out of this idea?) They can also discuss how much money must have been spent on the action sequences rather than on the script, a skewed set of values that really shows in this case.
- In theaters: August 22, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: August 22, 2006
- Cast: Chevy Chase, Jaime Pressly, Jon Voight
- Director: Bob Clark
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: martial arts action/violence and some suggestive content
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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