Black Dog is a 1998 action film directed by Kevin Hooks and starring Patrick Swayze. The film tells the story of a trucking ex-con who is manipulated into transporting illegal arms. The film co-stars musicians Randy Travis and Meat Loaf.
The movie first starts out with FBI and ATF agents on a pursuit to stop a truck carrying illegal guns as part of an illegal arms operation. The result is the death of the driver, which leads to a disagreement with FBI and ATF agents on involvement with the case.
Jack Crews (Patrick Swayze) is a truck driver who has just been released from jail for vehicular manslaughter, for accidentally hitting and killing a motorist and his passenger on the side of the road during a trip in which he experienced a Black Dog hallucination. Along with his imprisonment, he also lost his Commercial driver's license. Following his release, he attempts to get back to a normal life, but this time holds a job as a truck mechanic for a local repair shop in New Jersey, unable to drive himself. He is then offered a job by his manager, Cutler (Graham Beckel) to drive a load of toilets from Atlanta to New Jersey for $10,000. Crews initially declines the offer, but then finds out that his house will be repossessed unless he pays off his debt. He then changes his mind and takes the job where he flies down to Atlanta to meet up with Red (Meat Loaf), who runs the trucking yard.
Red initially gives Crews a brand-new truck to haul the load, but Crews chooses an old Peterbilt 379 in order to not draw too much attention. He is accompanied on the trip by Earl (Randy Travis) riding shotgun, and Sonny (Gabriel Casseus) and Wes (Brian Vincent) following in Sonny's Chevrolet Camaro for policy protection. As they make their way to New Jersey, Crews and the guys experience several run-ins with Red and his crew as they attempt to hijack the load, in retaliation for the failed negotiations with Cutler about money. During the trip, Crews finds out that his load also contains illegal guns (over $3,000,000 worth, according to ATF), and that Wes has been informing Red of their whereabouts throughout the trip. Crews also discovers that Sonny is an FBI agent when he is shot and killed by Red during another hijack attempt, and that the FBI has been tracking their whereabouts as well.
Things take a turn for the worse when Cutler takes Crews' wife Melanie and daughter Tracy hostage to ensure that Crews will complete the job and finish the entire trip. Despite the numerous attempts from Red to hijack the load, Crews manages to survive each attempt. When they make it to Maryland, Crews now officially knows what the whole plot is and formulates a plan to turn over the guns to the FBI and to get his family back. Wes, at this point has gone his separate way, while Earl decides to stay on until the end. Crews puts the FBI tracking device on the truck that Wes is leaving on and eventually the FBI pulls over the truck to realize it is the wrong one. However, Crews calls Agent Allen Ford (Charles Dutton) who is leading the case on Wes' cell phone. He tells him his plan which is to meet him at a loading dock in Jersey, where he will be meeting with Cutler to exchange the guns for his family.
Eventually when the meeting occurs, the FBI shows up and a shootout occurs with Cutler's men. Crews is able to catch Cutler before he can escape and then turns him over to the FBI. As a token of gratitude, the FBI gives Crews his commercial driver's license back, and also tells Crews that his house won't be foreclosed, in return for his assistance during the operation and they thank him for bringing Sonny's body back. He is also given the key to drive the truck one last time to the impound lot. Also, Crews thanks Earl, who was wounded in the shootout between the FBI and Cutler's men, for staying, and in return Earl tells Crews to take care of his dog, Tiny (a pit bull riding in the trailer as a guard), until he heals and everything is sorted out.
As Crews and his family leave the docks for the impound lot, they are intercepted by Red who makes one last attempt at Crews' life, but ultimately their slamming into each other causes Red to lose control of his truck, which then flips over numerous times before getting hit by a Fairbanks-Morse H-12-44 Switching Locomotive and exploding.
- Patrick Swayze as Jack Crews
- Randy Travis as Earl
- Meat Loaf as Red
- Gabriel Casseus as Sonny
- Brian Vincent as Wes
- Graham Beckel as Frank Cutler
- Brenda Strong as Melanie Crews
- Rusty DeWees as Junior
- Cyril O'Reilly as Vince
- Erin Broderick as Tracy Crews
- Charles S. Dutton as FBI Agent Allen Ford
- Stephen Tobolowsky as ATF Agent McClaren
- Lorraine Toussaint as FBI Agent Avery