The first 15 minutes of 'Mindbender' had the makings of a great Ken Russell film: some excellent incendiary imagery suggested he had found a spiritual home on American cable tv and although the rest of the film was interestingly (and beautifully) shot; it ultimately failed because of a poor script - and even more tellingly - the lunatic premise that anyone would be interested in Uri Geller's life story.
It did suggest however, that Russell had lost none of his unique visionary flair and a decent story would see him firing up to something resembling full power again.
Unfortunately, 'Dogboys' isn't it.
It's a bog-standard, escape-from-mad-inmates-and-even-madder warder, tale with the added 'twist' of carnivorous killer canines.
Sort of 'Lock Up' with Alsatians.
It has a few good points: Bryan Brown is good as the said loonie locker, and there is the odd Russellian flourish, but it looks like this material defeated even the resolute and ever-reliable Russell and you depressingly get the sense he just plonked his camera, shouted "action", then went for a drink.
Dean Cain is the 'hero' and he isn't brilliant. He's so wooden that when he escapes into the forest - he disappears!
No need to run Dean, they'll NEVER spot you in there son.
Elsewhere, Tia Carrere scrubs up fab, but has a decidedly "What I am doing here" look on her face as she tries to make the best of her desperately underwritten role.
The rest of the cast stumble around bewildered, waiting for their bloody and violent death scenes, each one more yawningly predictable than the last, and it'll come as no surprise that there's a Cain/Brown climax which reaches no excitement heights at all.
A heartbreaking waste of all the varying talents involved.
It hurts me to have to give a KR film a lousy notice but what can I do? If I had the money I'd give it to him; to fund one of his long standing cherished projects or just to finance the long-awaited restoration of 'the Devils' now all the missing footage has been recovered.
But these are dreams.
We long for the day Ken Russell is back up in his beloved Lakes, helming a decently budgeted, brilliantly cast British project; with nuns, vampires, stoned 19th Century composers, Nazi's, nymphomaniacs, funeral pyres and ripe, profane dialogue all in the first 10 minutes (he could EASY do it!). Dreaming again.
But for now 'Dogboys' and the sad fact that it doesn't much bark, never mind bite.