Did you know that there is an Air Bud cinematic universe? If you need a moment to process that, you’re probably not alone. Air Bud spawned Air Buddies, which in turned spawned Santa Buddies and its sequel. But that’s not all in the talking animal universe (the puppies talk, by the way)! Now firmly in the control of writer/director/producer Robert Vince, we also have Pup Stars (dogs singing), several monkey movies (MVP: Most Valuable Primate, Spymate, Monkey Up, etc.), and now Russell Madness.
Before I get into it I just want to say that I HATE this title. Russell’s theme song and wrestling name in the movie is “Russell Maniac,” which works because it sounds like Wrestlemania. Not calling the movie that is more aggravating than I anticipated and I blame fear of being sued by the WWE. Now that that’s out of my system, moving on…
Russell Madness (ugh) follows a Jack Russell terrier who wants to find a family. He eventually runs into the Ferraros, a family who owns a wrestling arena. They find out the dog is agile enough to become a wrestler; sadly no one ever says, “Ain’t no rules says a dog can’t wrestle.” He’s also trained by a talking monkey (the voice of Mr. Will Sasso) who speaks other animal languages, because that’s apparently a staple in kids movies these days? But in comes the evil Vince McMahon and his WWE to ruin everything. Sorry, I mean Mick Vaughn and his WUF. Anyway, he takes control of Russell, but some shenanigans happen and ownership of the dog and the arena comes down to a tag team match. The kid and the dog obviously win, even though the kid’s a fucking cheater! He pokes his opponent in the eyes, pulls out a nose hair, kicks him in the groin, and then gives a grown man an atomic wedgie! You’re supposed to be a face, kid! Heels do that!
I’ve seen worse talking animal movies, so it’s not The Worst. It’s pretty lame and by the numbers, but the animation to make the animals appear to talk is… well it’s super weird looking, but it’s light years ahead of A Talking Cat?!?. But I’ve also seen way better talking animal movies, so this movie is stuck in a bland middle ground. I’d been toying around with the idea of maybe reviewing all–lemme check Wikipedia–14 movies in the Air Bud/Air Buddies/Santa Buddies franchise as part of a event like Mummy Mondays (which I will get back to once people can safely come to my house again), so a friend bought me this, partly because of that, and partly because we give each other horrible gifts as a sign of true friendship. Enjoy your Trumpy Bear, buddy, this DVD takes up way less space. ❤
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