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Rock Dog

Rock Dog (simplified Chinese: 摇滚藏獒; traditional Chinese: 搖滾藏獒; pinyin: Yáogǔn Zàng'áo literally "Rock and Roll Tibetan Mastiff") is a 2016 computer-animated comedy film produced by Mandoo Pictures and Huayi Brothers. The film is directed by Ash Brannon in his solo directorial debut, from a script by Brannon and Kurt Voelker. The film based on the Chinese graphic novel Tibetan Rock Dog by Zheng Jun, albeit its basic premise has been significantly altered. It features the voices of J. K. Simmons, Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon, and Sam Elliott. The film follows a young Tibetan Mastiff who leaves his mountain home village to become a rock musician in the big city after a radio falls from the sky.

It was released on July 8, 2016, in China by Huayi Brothers and on February 24, 2017, in the United States by Summit Premiere. The film received mixed reviews from critics and was a box office bomb, grossing $24 million worldwide against a production budget of $60 million. The film is dedicated to producer David B. Miller who died while riding his mountain bike near his Topanga home.

Plot[]

Teenage Tibetan Mastiff Bodi (Luke Wilson) is expected to be the next guard of the village of Snow Mountain, succeeding his father Khampa (J. K. Simmons), who years ago drove out a pack of gangster grey wolves, led by the villainous Linnux (Lewis Black). Khampa has some local sheep disguised as Mastiffs to give the illusion the village has multiple guards to keep the wolves at bay, but Bodi has trouble perfecting his father's signature move the Iron Paw, which projects a powerful blast that can only happen if Bodi "finds the fire." Khampa has forbidden music in the village as it distracted Bodi from his duties when he was younger.

After a disastrous training session, Bodi indirectly causes a nearby flying plane to drop a package. Among the items, Bodi becomes interested in a radio and listens to rock music, becoming entranced with British rock legend Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard). Bodi steals a traditional dramyin from a den of locked up instruments, adds additional strings to make it a conventional Western guitar, and neglects his duties in favor of becoming a musician, putting him at odds with his father. After Khampa and some of the guard sheep accidentally cause Bodi to unleash a false alarm on the village while dressed as wolves (in an attempt to scare him straight), village elder Fleetwood Yak (Sam Elliott) convinces Khampa to let Bodi follow his dream. Bodi is given a bus ticket to a nearby city, but Khampa makes him promise to give up music if his trip doesn't work out. At the bus station, Bodi is discovered by two of Linnux's henchman, Riff (Kenan Thompson) and Skozz, and he orders them to kidnap Bodi, reasoning it is his chance to take over Snow Mountain.

Bodi arrives at the city, and heads to Rock and Roll Park as it is where Scattergood began his career. He attempts to join a band consisting of the down-to-earth fox Darma (Mae Whitman) and absent-minded goat drummer Germur (Jorge Garcia). However, Bodi is humiliated after losing a guitar contest to arrogant snow leopard Trey (Matt Dillon), who was a bounty hunter sent by Linnux to sabotage his musical dream and kidnap him. Trey, discovering his idolization for Scattergood, manipulates Bodi into convincing Scattergood to give him some guitar lessons at his mansion, though he knows a little secret about Angus' security set-up. At Scattergood's mansion, he is revealed to be a white Persian cat who wears black sunglasses all the time and has a serious case of writer's block, with his only companion being his robot butler Ozzie. Angus' manager, Ian, gives him three days to create a new song.

When Bodi tries to meet Scattergood, he is put off by Bodi's fanboy attitude and tries to evade him. Eventually, Bodi and Scattergood get lost in a back alley and Bodi decides to play music at Rock and Roll Park to get money for Scattergood to return to his mansion. However, Riff and Skozz mistakenly kidnap Scattergood after they see Bodi at the park. After Riff and Skozz realize their error, Linnux angrily sends them to find Bodi again and they drop Scattergood off at his home. Scattergood believes his career is over since he has less than a day to write a new song, when he hears Bodi playing on his guitar and invites him into his home with the facade of a "guitar lesson", creating a new song called "Glorious". Bodi later realizes that Angus used him after hearing him take full credit for the song they wrote together on a radio. Trey mocks Bodi and everyone in the park leaves, with Darma and Germur feeling sorry for him. Soon after, Bodi is captured by Linnux's henchmen via tranquilizer darts, and under their effects he reveals the fake Mastiff guards when Linnux interrogates him. Linnux and his gang head to Snow Mountain while Bodi is put into a boxing match at Linnux's Fight Palace, but Bodi cleverly has his opponent break the cage surrounding them so he can escape.

Scattergood, guilt-tripped by Ozzie for exploiting Bodi for his own selfishness, uses his old tour bus to find him and apologize. At Rock and Roll Park, Scattergood meets with Darma and Germur and discover Bodi's capture when they see his dart-covered guitar. Scattergood forgoes sending in his new song to rescue Bodi. Meeting Bodi outside of Linnux's hideout, Scattergood makes amends by giving his old acoustic guitar with his autograph as a sign of gratitude and takes him to Snow Mountain to stop Linnux and his henchmen. Linnux and his gang overpower Khampa and the whole village and attempt to devour the villagers, but Bodi appears. After a climactic chase, Bodi subdues the wolves by "finding the fire" by playing Scattergood's guitar and making the wolves, the villagers, and his friends levitate. Khampa banishes Linnux with his Iron Paw and accepts Bodi's ambition to play rock music.

At the city, Scattergood gives full credit of "Glorious" to Bodi. Bodi forms a band with Darma and Germur as they (including Scattergood, Ozzie, Fleetwood, and the sheeps) sing and play "Glorious" to the city, the Snow Mountain villagers, Khampa, and most of the redeemed wolves (including Riff and Skozz) at Linnux's old Fight Palace. Meanwhile, Trey tries to get in the Fight Palace claiming that he's with the band only to be turned away by a bear bouncer.

Cast[]

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Music[]

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Sequels[]

A sequel titled Rock Dog 2: Rock Around the Park was released on June 15, 2021 on DVD and Blu-ray.

The next sequel is announced as Rock Dog 3: Battle the Beat, where Bodi is compelled to join the show to restore the Rock Legend’s good name.

Sources[]

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