Stray Dog is a kind of prototypical “buddy cop” film. It’s essentially a police procedural with some film noir flavour.
Frequent Kurosawa collaborates Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura are in as fine form as ever here, with Mifune in particular delivering some excellent acting in some of the final scenes. This film has a lot more action than the other early Kurosawa films too, and it was neat to see his skill in direction and editing in those kind of contexts.
The film is more straightforward than some of the other early Kurosawa films;it’s surprisingly heavy on plot. I prefer the more characterisation-heavy films like The Quiet Duel, but I still found plenty to enjoy here, particularly seeing the kind of buddy cop dynamic between Mifune and Shimura’s characters that I know would eventually become a genre unto itself.
I give it three stolen guns, and a rabid dog.