Reviewed at Hollywood Black Film Festival, Feb. 28, 2000. Running time: 90 MIN.
With: Glenn Plummer, Chris Spencer, J. Lamont Pope.
This contempo take on “Easy Rider” might have been dubbed “Boyz on the Road.” There’s a restless bravura to Detdrich McClure’s “Road Dogs,” a story about two African-American men who leave their violent past behind them on a motorcycle odyssey but find that their past follows them wherever they go. Though it’s too small a niche item to see theatrical life, video holds out some promise.
Just out of jail, Panther (Glenn Plummer) is an ex-gang member who thinks he’ll be able to go straight if he can only leave L.A. His devoted sidekick Ray (Chris Spencer) wants to be just like him, so together they embark on a journey across the country that leads to various misadventures. They pick up “College Boy” (J. Lamont Pope), a hitchhiking film student who’s led a sheltered life. They encounter racism in the South. And in the film’s most inspired, unexpectedly funny bit, they meet a couple of smack-talking, small-town white girls who fancy themselves rappers. Though dangerous episodes punctuate their journey, the film is not so much a celebration of violence as it is a fast-moving, enjoyable road movie.