Entertainment Magazine> Film> 2010> "Johnny Mad Dog"

Johnny Mad Dog – the new military model

By Miv Evans

Johnny Mad Dog is a militia commander and orders his soldiers to murder, torture and rape in the name of a vague ideology that condemns everyone who is not a member of their rebel faction. 

But there is one thing that separates Johnny from most other terrorists.  He’s only 15 years old, his band of killers are younger still, and they were all stolen from their parents when they were too tiny to fight back.  These are the child soldiers of the world.      

The story begins with a village of defenseless civilians being attacked by the raggle-taggle army Johnny belongs to.  The inhabitants are indiscriminately shot and a little boy is forced to kill his own father before being recruited into the battalion of innocent murderers who execute the will of their president, too brainwashed to question his atrocious orders.

In another part of the city a girl, no older than Johnny, tries to protect her young brother and save her crippled father from the genocide that moves closer each day.   Depravity versus honor, with no one to hold their hand.

This film opens just after the assault has begun, with no establishing shot, no title and not even a line of text to tell us where in the world we are.  But the truth is, it doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that what we’re seeing here is terribly wrong, and throwing your audience, stone cold, into such terrible conflict makes them feel disoriented and their lack of knowledge renders them powerless, just like the people on the screen.

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This is storytelling at its very, very best.

As the opening scene unfolds outside on the street, inside a soldier tries on a wedding dress, never taking his eyes off his reflection as he gently pulls the sparkling white lace over his muscled torso, slips the starched veil onto his cropped head, and stands, mesmerized by the image of his shrouded body

From then on, he no longer wears his uniform, only his gown, but his cohorts make no comment, perhaps because it’s a symbol of the dressing up game they used to play, in a different life, before they had their skin scraped and rubbed with cocaine to make them braver in the battles they were about to wage.

These children are typical of thousands who have become fearless little fighters and whose only comfort has been the steel of their gun.  So even if they are saved, and they have their guns taken from them, will they be able to reclaim their brutalized lives?  With their parents quite likely murdered and their country ravaged by war, will they perhaps feel the need to revisit, and find comfort from the familiar, however cold that might be?                 
Based on the novel by Emmanuel Dongola
US - available now from Bright House, Time Warner, Cablevision, Cox, Comcast.
UK - available now on Amazon

Stars: Amil Cash, Augustin David, Barry Chernoh, Carlos Badawi, Eric Cole, Galaxy Chea, Jerry B. Chea, Maxwell Carter, Robert Davies, Teddy Boy.

Miv Evans is a British businesswoman who relocated to Los Angeles in 2005. She previously had a comedy drama commissioned by BBC TV and sold her first film to REN Media International in 2008 which she wrote, directed and produced.

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Johnny Mad Dog (2008) DVD

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[NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - United Kingdom]. United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: it WILL NOT play on standard US DVD player. You need multi-region PAL/NTSC DVD player to view it in USA/Canada: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Making Of, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Today, in contemporary Africa. Johnny, 15, a kid-soldier armed to the hilt, is inhabited by the mad dog he dreams of becoming. With his small commando No Good Advice, Small Devil, Young Major he robs, pillages, and slays everything in his path. Laokolé, 16, pushing her disabled facther around in a rickety wheelbarrow, attempting to invent the glorious future which her brilliant studies seem to have in store for her, strives to flee her city occupied by teenage-soldier militias, with her little brother Fofo, 8. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Cannes Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival,


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