2/22/2016

Mad Dogs - Amazon Original Series (Review)


I just finished the first season of Amazon's new original series, Mad Dogs, and I recommend it to anyone who likes a good thriller. It's suspenseful, well-written, and addictive, and at times it even has a sort of horror-movie feel, although you couldn't really call it horror.

The feel comes mostly from the way it's shot, leaving clear space behind the characters and leading the viewer to expect something lurking behind the characters. There were definitely some moments when the action startled me, but that wasn't the main focus. What really draws you in is the plot - four guys who go to visit their friend in Belize, only to find out that he was involved in some shady business.

I won't spoil anything else other than telling you that said friend dies, leaving the four guys in the middle of a hairy situation. What follows is a series of frustrations for college buddies Joel (Ben Chaplin), Lex (Michael Imperioli), Gus (Romany Marco), and Cobi (Steve Zahn) as they try to escape complications and get back home safely. Oh, and an irrational fear of lizards.

Amazon's Mad Dogs is actually a remake of the UK show of the same name, in fact it even has the same writer (Cris Cole). That may sound strange, considering people liked the original show. Apparently, Cole thought thathe could improve on what he did in the UK version, so when Executive Producer Shawn Ryan approached him, Cole accepted his offer to do a remake.




The U.S. version has more than just a common writer. Ben Chaplin was in the UK version of Mad Dogs, playing Alvo, whose character role was replaced by Milo (Billy Zane) in the Amazon Series. Chaplin is not the only actor from the UK series: Maria Botta, or police captain Sofia Morena, also plays a police officer in the original. It's interesting to see that so many people were willing to take part in a remake that happened just four years later, but I'm glad they did.

There are a few things that I didn't exactly enjoy about the first season of Mad Dogs, but they were mostly outweighed by the compelling story and quality acting. My only complaint is that some of the plot points seem unrealistic, even drifting into the realm of magical realism near the end. Magical realism isn't a bad thing, but the fact that it doesn't get introduced until so late in the season leads me to assume that it was just thrown in for the hell of it.

Overall, though, Mad Dogs was solid, and if you have Amazon Prime, you should watch it. I'm looking forward to a second season, if they announce it. It's hard to tell the direction that they plan to take if they do choose to continue the story, but that seems to be the general theme. Mad Dogs is unpredictable and incredibly thrilling, and you're guaranteed to always wonder what's going to happen next.

Rating: 8.5/10

Up Next: Mad Max: Fury Road Better Not Win Best Picture

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