A&E // 2005 // 176 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // April 19th, 2006
You can run, but Dog'll get you.
Well, it's about time reality television started turning their cameras towards the more, shall we say, unique jobs in the American workforce. The viewing public is already well established in restaurant kitchens, business boardrooms and pop star stages. And at various points over the last several years, shows have been produced that have taken the viewer inside such establishments as casinos, tattoo parlors, and even the wholesome household that is Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Brown. So is watching the inner sanctum of a bail bondsmen's office any more entertaining?
Obviously, since we're on the second season of Dog the Bounty Hunter on DVD, and the Dog/Chapman clan has recently had a third season of episodes start to air on A&E, so they must be doing something right. When your channel is famous for airing American Justice, along with re-airing shows originally broadcast on NBC, you can get starved for personalities that have any form of charisma. The episodes that comprise the "Best of" the second season are:
* "Baby's Back in Town"
* "Surprise! Surprise!"
* "No Ice in Paradise"
* "Dog II: Son of Dog"
* "Brother's Keeper"
* "Momma's Boys"
* "This Dog Can Hunt"
With the exception of the last one, all episodes are consistent with the half-hour of air time that they get each Tuesday night.
For those who are somewhat unfamiliar with the Duane Chapman story, allow me to bring you up to speed; a convicted criminal in Texas, Chapman felt ashamed by what he did and how his parents felt about him, so he decided to track those who did other bad acts and put them away. Among the over 6,000 criminals he has captured in the past have been Wayne Williams (child murderer in Atlanta) and Willie Scatarie (murderer of DJ Alan Berg). He gained national notoriety in 2003, when Chapman, his son Leland and his brother Tim captured the heir to the Max Factor cosmetics fortune, one Andrew Luster, who was convicted of a variety of sexual assault and battery charges in California before fleeing to Mexico. He arrived in Hawaii in 1989 and became so enamored with the island lifestyle, culture and people, he made his home there, traveling occasionally to Colorado (as he does in "This Dog Can Hunt" to assist some bondsmen).
Now watching Dog chase a fugitive can't be the entire focus of episode after episode, and what occurs in the second season of Dog the Bounty Hunter is that more of the home life with Dog and his large-chested wife Beth is incorporated into the fold. Some of Dog's virtual garden of genetic seeds come back home (he has, after all, 12 children from several marriages), specifically one of his daughters named Lyssa (pronounced Lisa) and one of his oldest sons, named Duane Lee. And the older children play an active role in Dog's bond office in downtown Oahu, named Da Kine Bail Bonds. So much so that they each contribute to captures on separate episodes.
The thing that separates this from a normal fugitive capture is that Dog does not hesitate to try to talk some sense into the guy/girl he's catching. He doesn't necessarily preach to them, but perhaps the best way to try to explain it is that Dog is keyed in to the very spiritual nature of the native Hawaiian people. Moreover, he's walked down the same road as many of the people he captures, so he can relate to them in a way that few people can. Granted, some of the advice he gives does sound a little bit corny and contrived, but many of the people that are caught do feel a bit of shame and relief (to some degree) and are very emotional.
Dog and his gang also try to do what they can to help Hawaii and its people overcome a large addiction to crystal meth (or "ice" as it's more commonly known) which, by some estimates, has 30,000 of the state's 1.2 million people as addicts to the substance. Dog is especially hard on dealers of the product, and tries to help the addicts however he can, many of whom have subsequently gone to rehab and emerged as healthier human beings that contribute to the state, and have the Dog to thank for it. Dog is even recognized during this season for his work in trying to stop the use of ice, and continues to do so (probably as this is being read).
One would normally expect a bail bondsman to be a gruff, no-nonsense guy who breaks noses and heads in his quest to bring his fugitive back so they aren't responsible for the bond. And some of Dog and his crew are a little bit over-amped from time to time. But after the initial rough treatment, one would expect to be treated with honor and respect, unless they were a stone-cold dealer with no remorse or regrets. The Dog does what he can to help those that perhaps can't or don't have the chance to get back on their feet, and living on an island full of generous, loving people, he gives them something that they haven't had in a long time.
It's not really that the idea or concept of a "Best of" compilation disc that annoys me, it's the fact that there are virtually no extras whatsoever to accompany this release or the Season One compilation disc that was previously released. Understanding that throwing Dog and his gang in front of a TV and having them do a commentary track is a little bit too much, but there aren't even topical interviews here that I could complain aren't in-depth enough. There are biographies for Dog and his crew, including his nephew Justin, who doesn't appear on this disc at all. Otherwise on just a purely entertainment level, what's here is OK.
God forbid that the main television exports from the Aloha state over the last two decades have been Tom Selleck and Duane "Dog" Chapman. Both have goofy looking mustaches, both appear to invest a bit in hair care products, and both are involved in the investigation and law enforcement arenas. One is a dramatic impression, the other is flesh and blood reality, but both are very charismatic, good hearted characters. Dog the Bounty Hunter is trying to do whatever he can to make his corner of the world better for all to enjoy. Is that something he should be persecuted for? Hardly.
Dog, Beth, Duane Lee, Tim, Leland and the rest of the group at Da Kine are found not guilty, the work they do is sometimes thankless, yet they receive rewards that few would want to receive. Here's hoping that they can help rid the Aloha state of ice and make it an even better paradise than it already is.
Review content copyright © 2006 Ryan Keefer; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 176 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Dog's Bounty Hunting Pop Quiz
* Cast Biographies
* Official Site
* Dog the Bounty Hunter Official Site
* Season One Review