Whenever a movie gives its main character a name that describes his job in some way, you just know that movie has no aspirations to be anything other than a piece of smelly, chunky hog vomit. You know what I'm talking about. Some guy is a pilot and they name him Buck Winger. In another movie a guy is a plumber and his nickname is Drano. In "Black Dog" Patrick Swayze plays a truck driver whose name is Jack Crews. Five seconds into the film you come to the terrible realization that the screenwriter is about as clever as a clump of dirt.
Jack is offered ten thousand dollars to drive a truck from Georgia to New Jersey, but since he's an ex-con who's lost his license, he decides it wouldn't be a good idea. As ass-flying butt-monkey coincidence would have it, Jack goes home to the wife and kid and suddenly they need nine thousand dollars for some reason, which motivates Jack greatly since he'll have a thousand left over to change his last name to Gearshift and get rid of that horrible name/job association stigma.
I guess we're supposed to feel sorry for Jack when he discovers he's got a load of illegal weapons and that Red (Meat Loaf) is trying to hijack the load. Next thing he knows, if he doesn't shake Red, his wife and kid will be killed. Damn it, if it just doesn't suck being an ex-con. Along for the ride is Earl (Randy Travis) and one of the black guys from "Lonestar." Earl - and this is another inspired bit - is an aspiring songwriter.
Kevin Hooks, who's still walking despite having directed "Strictly Business," "Fled," and "Passenger 57," manages to turn truck-driving into a sport. Jack is the best there is. Fortunately, the guys trying to run him off the road are mostly Southern inbreds to whom the concept of downshifting is as foreign as the concept of inlaw. Depress the level of competition and anybody, even Patrick Swayze, can be a genius at something.
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