The story begins when a klutzy police beagle is accidently kidnapped to be a guinea pig to Capitol City’s best geneticist Simon Barsinister (Peter Dinklage), who is secretly experimenting on dogs to perfect his serum. However, the beagle escapes, but not before causing a lab fire and being exposed to various substances. Found by Dan Unger (Jim Belushi), the beagle is named “Shoeshine” and becomes the pet of Dan’s son, 12-year-old Jack Unger (Alex Neuberger). But as both eventually learn, the incident at the lab has not only made Shoeshine able to speak, but also able to fly and possess superhuman strength. Jack convinces Shoeshine to use his superpowers to help the citizens of Capitol City, taking the name “Underdog.” However, Barsinister, hunting after Underdog and eventually learning of his identity, manages to use the Ungers to force Underdog to provide a sample of his DNA that the scientist uses in the form of pills and an antidote that he uses on Shoeshine to turn him back to a normal dog. After feeding three of the pills to his German Shepherds, Barsinister takes the mayor hostage while Cad sets up a bomb on top of city hall. However, Shoeshine manages to regain his powers and save the day, with Barsinister put behind bars.


I’m a big fan of the Underdogcartoon, so you can imagine I was uber-excited to hear they were making a movie. Then I saw the previews and against better judgement, went to see the film. I will admit, this could have been alot worse, but it just doesn’t stack up.

First of all, they have taken away the humans of Polly, Riff Raff, and Underdog. Speaking of Riff Raff, he’s supposed to be a wolf, not a doberman. Polly is supposed to be a reporter, and Shoeshine boy is supposed to be…well, a shoeshine boy! None of them had owners. If you’re going to make a movie like this, don’t stray from the source material.

I will give props to Simon Barsinister and Cad. Peter Dinklage and Patrick Warburton really bring them to life. I’m not so sure about Jason Lee as the voice of Underdog, but it could have been worse.

Although Underdog does rhyme here and there, it isn’t enough for me. In the cartoon he talks in non-stop rhymes. When he does talk in rhymes, they blow it off as if it is a bad thing. This really angered me. The rhyming is as much a part of Underdog’s character as his superpowers.

Yes, I know I’m coming off like a fanboy in this review, but this is how I feel. That being said, this movie isn’t too terribly bad. The plot does work. The film’s downfall is the differences from the cartoon.

Before I end and give my recommendation, I have to mention that they should not have used real dogs. They should have been CGI a la Scooby Doo or cartoon like Rocky & Bullwinkle. Using real dogs just killed it for me, an almost kept me from wanting to go see this film.

All in all, this isn’t a bad family film, but if you’re a die hard Underdog fan, the be warned.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars


3 Responses to “Underdog”

  1. […] animated only their bottom lip. It freaks me out and looks tacky and cheap. They did this crap in Underdog and it nearly ruined that film for […]

  2. […] only seen one episode since we don’t have HBO. I best know him as Simon Barsinister in Underdog and the male nanny in a few episodes of Nip/Tuck. The guy has some real acting chops, as he puts on […]

  3. […] into a rhyme now and then. Maybe even have someone mention it, similar to the way it was done in Underdog. Also, the chef part of his persona was mentioned once. From what I recall, this is a major part of […]

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