You have to hand it to the eccentric film maker Sam Fuller. Who would have thought to make a film about a racist dog? As bizarre as the premise may be, the film works and proves to be both entertaining and intriguing. The idea that a dog can be trained to attack members of a certain race is disturbing, yet seemingly plausible.
Paul Winfield is absolutely terrific as the animal trainer who loves animals, and makes a gallant effort to try and de-program the white dog that attacks black people. I was disappointed in the casting of Kristy McNichol in the other main role, however, in that I think the film would have been enhanced by a more charismatic actress.
The film starkly makes the point of how absurd racism is when we witness it in an animal that blindly follows its training and its instinct to attack the threat it has been taught to fear, rather than any inherent fear that would be found in nature. The fact that animals do not have the emotional/moral capacity to hate makes it an even greater stark contrast to the irrational hatred of racism that is learned and taught in humans.
There is a powerful scene in which the white dog kills a black man by tearing him to shreds. If one has ever been stalked by a big dog or been around a menacing one, you can appreciate the horror of the scene, and how well it is presented.
A good film to view from one of America's most underrated film writer/directors.