Newest Reviews
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Woman at War
Happy as Lazzaro
Mickey's Christmas Carol
Newest Articles
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
  Benji the Hunted The DogfatherBuy this film here.
Year: 1987
Director: Joe Camp
Stars: Benji, Frank Inn, Red Steagall, Nancy Francis
Genre: Adventure
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: The world famous dog Benji (as himself) has been involved in a shipwreck off the coast of Oregon, and his owner Frank Inn (also as himself) is very worried about his whereabouts. He tells a television news reporter about the incident, and his fears over his pet's wellbeing, and the public brace themselves for never hearing about its exact fate. But Benji is not dead, he swims ashore that night, exhausted though alive, and settles down to sleep it off. When he awakes, he notices a cougar nearby, and observes it as a hunter suddenly fires off a shot and kills it, much to the dog's shock...

When you think about those great eighties Hollywood action stars, certain names immediately spring to mind: your Arnold Schwarzenegger, your Sylvester Stallone, your Chuck Norris, your Benji - huh, wait a sec, what's the pooch doing in that exalted company? He had been around since the seventies, although played by more than one animal, and usually found himself foiling kidnappers or being voiced by Chevy Chase, but with Benji the Hunted, there was a conscious effort to turn him into an action performer. Not that he fired a shot, but he did prove himself against both the elements and some formidable foes.

Of course, this was all carefully scripted by Joe Camp, a director who made a career out of this series of movies, and Benji's actual trainer Inn also garnered some screen time in a couple of scenes, looking more like Father Christmas than anything else, but this belonged to the creatures pretty much all the way. When Benji sees that hunter (Red Steagall) shoot the cougar, he doesn't realise that he'll be filling the role of foster parent to the dead cat's cubs, which he feels the need to look after, showing himself to be a charitable, big-hearted hound. Therefore the rest of the movie is taken up with his newfound parenting skills, which almost succeed in saving the litter.

I say almost, because there is a moment of tragedy late on, as one of the predators gets a little too close for comfort, but in the main Benji does an admirable job. This wouldn't be an eighties action movie without some bad guys for our hero to outsmart: Rocky had his Ivan Drago, John Matrix had his Bennett, and our Benj has this large, black wolf to beat, or at least make sure the cubs don't end up as its dinner. That's not the only peril he has to contend with as there are a selection of wildlife threats around the forest such as a bear, a fox, and an eagle, all out looking for a tasty morsel to keep them going through the day.

You can imagine a cougar baby would be the very dab for a wolf to fill a hole in its appetite, but it even looks to be setting its sights on the mutt as a possible meal. Not that it's all animals, as that hunter hears Benji has a reward for his safe return and ties him up when he catches him trying to steal a strung up pheasant for the cubs to eat. In true serial style, with each fresh danger we're meant to be on the edge of our seats wondering how the protagonist will escape this time, but as it plays out, you're more likely to be wondering how they managed to train all those critters to such a high standard, and that marvelling over their skill does tend to get in the way of appreciating the storyline. Benji in this is as complex a character as you can make a dog, but his movie was barely one step up from a Walt Disney nature documentary: perfectly watchable, but you were aware of the fakery involved. Music by Betty Box and Euel Box.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2731 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (2)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M


Last Updated: