Friday, March 18, 2022



George Miller (No, not that one)

Rex is a loyal Golden Retriever and best friend of Nino (Ryan Cooley). Ryan is especially attached to his dog following the death of his father after a long battle with cancer. Rex ends up on the wrong side of a random truck driving by and only eccentric inventor, Alex (Judd Nelson) can save him with experimental cybernetics. Meanwhile an evil hacker named Temple (Tonio Arango) and his flunky, Max (Jo Pingue) are looking to steal Alex’s invention.

If you were to believe the cover of your Cybermutt VHS tape, you’d like to think you were in for a dog pulling off some Inspector Gadget level nonsense: stretchy limbs, perhaps a satellite dish popping out somewhere, and oh let’s say laser barks. Instead of zany direct to video antics meant to shut up a small child for ninety minutes, we get a dad dead from cancer, a dog run over by a truck, and a traumatized child. 

Really fun stuff, right? 


Disney's Saw Paws


Judd Nelson is the most notable actor and while I think it would be easy to dismiss his performance as flat, I think he’s doing his best with the material given. Alex is a completely cliched absent-minded scientist, who has a good heart but is completely blind to the obvious traitor in his midst. Judd is still far and away the best actor in this production, but that should come as no surprise. Still, I can’t imagine this is a film that he keeps on his resume. 

The look and sound of Cybermutt is pure early 2000s TV movie. It’s shot in very uninteresting flat way with minimal special effects and stunts. It feels like the film is almost apologetic to try and grab your attention in any way. What effects do happen are extremely weak and even by early 2000 standards.


Interface by Phillips CD-i

Cybermutt is shockingly unfun. On the one hand I am impressed that there was even an attempt to make a more serious production out of this premise, much less to produce it as a TV movie for the Animal Planet channel. If Cybermutt committed to this approach, it might have worked, but at some point, the production tries to introduce elements that would be much more at home in something like Abner, the Invisible Dog (2013)), we get a cartoonish bad guy and dimwitted henchman who want to capture Rex for the hi-tech chip in his brain. Dour drama and goofy kids’ movie collide in way that never melds into a coherent story.

I’m not sure who this movie is for, it’s too glum to really work as a kid’s adventure story, there is a romance subplot is too thin to interest adults, and animal fans will be turned off by some of things that happen to the dog and the lack of dog stunts in general. I love trashy animal movies made to fill-up Redboxes and television schedules, but Cybermutt lacks anything to make it notable. 

Use your favorite dog pun to dismiss this one.

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