Chuck Norris may have been at the forefront of US martial arts movies in the 70s, but boy did he miss the boat with "Top Dog". Six years after "K-9" and "Turner & Hooch", the brothers Norris seemingly judged the time right for another cop'n'dog movie.
We're introduced to the mutt (called Reno) first, which quickly marks it's rank in the story by saving a baby from a burning building. How he managed to carefully wrap up the child isn't made clear, but this is clearly one gifted pooch. Unfortunately some rather nasty criminals soon rub out his veteran police detective owner, leaving Reno without a home.
Cue his slightly more grizzled new partner, Chuck Norris, who's a mean-tempered old cop, on suspension, obviously, because he's so good at being a maverick. As you'd expect, he ain't working with "no damn dog". But after a welter of introductory clichés, the two are reluctantly partnered together to form a super-shaggy crime fighting team.
Bizarrely for a 'family' film, the bad guys are neo-Nazi supremacists. They're not too bright either, hanging out in a warehouse that just begs to be discovered. Good old Chuck duly obliges and takes them all on for a typically one-sided showdown.
The dog does a few tricks but those are moments best left forgotten, as is the comic repartee between it and the two-legged star of the film. Norris thankfully puts on a better fighting display than in "Sidekicks" (it couldn't have been worse) but try as he might he's not suited to comedy or family fun. He is always at his best as a mean, 'punch first, ask questions later' type of guy in such top action fare as "Code of Silence" or "Lone Wolf McQuade", and the sooner he realises that the better.
Read about more performing pooches.