This debut effort from director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire continues the trend and even manages to cover untold ground in the chronicle of human misery, despair, and exploitation.
Johnny Mad Dog follows a group of LURD child soldiers fighting in 2003, during the latter part of the Second Liberian Civil War. The actors are mostly aged 10 to 15. All were unknowns when cast; some were themselves child soldiers.
The film follows their march towards the capital Monrovia, and follows them in a gritty realistic manner as they move though a series of towns and villages, where they terrify and often execute the populace.
The soldiers are depicted as almost feral, committing acts of pillage and rape, with scant regard for even their own lives.
They are heavily armed, and wear a variety of outlandish outfits, butterfly wings and a wedding dress, and have nicknames such as No Good Advice, Captain Dust to Dust, and Chicken Hair.
Set in a non-specific African nation collapsed deep into the chaos of civil war, the film follows the cold-as-ice teenager Johnny “Mad Dog” as he leads his battalion of brain washed child soldiers through a campaign of violence and terror.
Johnny Mad Dog leads the small group of younger militia. He is commanded by the older General Never Die, who feeds the boys cocaine and tells them: “If you don’t wanna die, don’t be born”.
Johnny and his troops are ordered by the local warlord to force their way into a government held town and take out a TV transmitter.
Armed with this simple goal Johnny marches his cohort onwards through a path of violent encounters.
As the adorable tots make their bloody advance through the town they find ample opportunities to indulge in their favourite past times of humiliating torture, casual rape, and looting.
Fuelled by raging teenage urges the elder children are quickly drawn into acts of savagery.
Freed from any kind of moral constraints the younger ones follow suit and imitate the only role models they have. Civilians flee in droves before them as if an apocalypse were bearing down on their city.
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