Action Movie Fanatix Review: Backyard Dogs

Action Movie Fanatix review banner for Backyard Dogs

For The Fame And Fortune They’ll Fight Like Dogs

Starring: Scott Hamm, Bree Turner, Walter Emanuel Jones, Frankie Kazarian, Vincent Van Patten, Eiji Ezaki aka Hayabusa
Director: Robert Boris

2000 | 96 Minutes | Rated R

“It’s like you should be shot but you’re wrestling instead.” – Kristy James

Cole (Scott Hamm) and Lee (Walter Emanuel Jones) aspire to win the backyard wrestling championship and a chance to appear on national television. Their manager, Kristy (Bree Turner) is going to help them get there.

Backyard Dogs was made in a time where kids all around the country, myself included, were finding various ways to have “pro” wrestling style matches in their backyards… and in my case basements. I won’t go into my own basement wrestling stories but at the time this movie came out YouTube was flooded with kids smashing each other over the head with chairs on the family trampolines, thinking they were going to be the next Stone Cold Steve Austin. But, as with most movies that try to capitalize on a fad, everything about Backyard Dogs feels phony and falls way short of attracting their desired audience. Plus it’s just a horrible, horrible movie.

There’s literally 3 cool things about this movie

  1. Walter Jones, of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers fame is in it.
  2. Pro wrestler Frankie Kazarian makes a brief appearance.
  3. Japanese pro wrestling legend Hayabusa makes an appearance.

I have no clue how this movie afforded or attracted these people… well, Frankie Kazarian was pretty early in his career so he probably came on the cheap. But the others, especially Hayabusa… I have no clue. The only other “star” in the movie is Bree Turner, who has actually gone on to forge a pretty impressive acting career. Evidently Backyard Dogs didn’t hold her down too much. The cast must have been where the majority of the money went as there are zero special effects and the cameras used were seemingly 15+ years old at the time of the shoot. That’s my way of saying the video quality is bad… real bad.

Even with a smidge of star power behind Backyard Dogs, the acting and dialogue comes across as pretty amateur. I don’t place all the blame on the cast, though. Look at what they were working with. The storyline bounces between a pseudo kayfabe wrestling world – where the fights may or may not be real – and a pseudo real world indy wrestler experience, with the guys and their manager are trying to market themselves to the big leagues. And even though this seems to be WWE’s current approach to their storytelling, it doesn’t work. It isn’t working for WWE right now and it most definitely didn’t work in Backyard Dogs.

As bad as that storyline sounds, the choreography is even worse. It’s pretty fake looking, even for a movie about professional wrestling. Pro wrestling is a guilty pleasure of mine so I can overlook some of this stuff but I always know something is extra bad when I’m sitting there going, “Wait… that pro wrestling move/match/story looks extra fake.” Not that there are non-pro wrestling fans watching Backyard Dogs anyway, but I’d imagine if one did happen upon this movie, they’d be laughing… and not in a good way.

So what’s left to say? Backyard Dogs is quite possibly the worst pro wrestling related movie ever made and that is really saying a lot.

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