A movie about dogs and soccer should be a winner—the most popular topics on the internet, right? K-9 World Cup is indeed a very clever story which made me chuckle throughout. A coach has one month to recruit and train the MexiCanine National Team for the Canine World Cup.
To get to the finals, the MexiCanines must beat the clever Arrffgentine Salukis (I think that’s their breed), the UKnines, the fancy French poodles, and the big scary German shepherds who run up scores. Only the MexiCanine team has diverse breeds of dogs where the players are fat, skinny, tall, rich, poor, ugly, or handsome. The goalkeeper is a chihuahua (originally voiced by Jorge Campos). There is also a greedy sports agent—a jackal—who entices the best players to leave the Cup competition and join a European club, so that he can get his 75% commission.
Soccer parents should enjoy the themes of winning through teamwork and diversity. In addition, there is doggie romance, building of father-son and father-daughter relationships, themes of loyalty and forgiveness, and a lesson that you are not defined by your family’s history.
Unfortunately, the film’s animation is elementary by today’s standards. The dogs are human-like and mostly play on 2 legs. They run as poorly as walking robots, which makes it difficult to see the dogs as real players.
However, the laughs come when the human-like players exhibit dog tendencies, such as sniffing another player’s butt, uncontrollable tail wagging when interested in a female reporter, and hanging one’s head and tongue out the window while driving a car. In addition, the coach blows his dog whistle at practice, and at training table meals, the players eat like dogs.
It took 4 years for Writer-Director Carlos Pimentel to bring his story to the screen. Originally titled in Mexico in 2015 as Selección Canina, K-9 World Cup is the English language release. It’s too bad that this film isn’t getting much visibility. I only came across it in my local library by accident.
Somehow I’d never seen the film announced, even though the English version uses the voices of some of my favorite MLS players: Dan Gargan and Alan Gordon of the famous #GargsAndGordo hashtag, Todd Dunivant, and AJ Dela Garza. Though all 4 of these played for the LA Galaxy, the first 3 also played for the San Jose Earthquakes (my home team). However to be honest, I couldn’t tell which characters they were vocalizing, and there were no American credits on the English version.
Sometimes football movies for kids are terrible, and soccer dog movies are a bit better. Football cartoon movies are actually pretty rare, and this one is as enjoyable as Underdogs. If you can get past the clunky animation, you and your kids should have a good time. (Please let me know if I’m wrong about the kids.)
In Spanish or English
Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 8
Released: Selección Canina 2015-04-25 (Mexico)
Released: K-9 World Cup 2016-05 (VOD)
Directors: Carlos Pimentel and Nathan Sifuentes
Voices of: Sean Astin , Sandra Peña
Voices of MLS Stars: Dan Gargan , Alan Gordon , AJ Dela Garza , Todd Dunivant
Watch the Trailer
Facebook pages for @K9World Cup and @seleccioncanina