After the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, interest in the Navy SEALs and their elite weaponry and tactics spread far across the media landscape. Of all the stories to come out of that night, however, one of the more amazing was the inclusion in the SEAL team of a combat dog named Cairo. Equipped with an array of high-tech tools - like super-strong, flexible body Armour and "doggles" featuring night-vision and infrared capability - Cairo became a symbol of the modern combat dog and its critical importance to the U.S. military.
"Like their human counterparts, the dog SEALs are highly trained, highly skilled, highly motivated special ops experts, able to perform extraordinary military missions by Sea, Air and Land (thus the acronym)," states the official Navy SEAL website. "The dogs carry out a wide range of specialized duties for the military teams to which they are attached: With a sense of smell 40 times greater than a human’s, the dogs are trained to detect and identify both explosive material and hostile or hiding humans. The dogs are twice as fast as a fit human, so anyone trying to escape is not likely to outrun Cairo or his buddies."
Perhaps recognizing the public's fascination with the role of combat dogs, Paramount is circling a script by Scott Frank ("Get Shorty", "Flight of the Phoenix", "Minority Report") titled "Alpha." According to The Wrap, the film focuses on a Navy SEAL sent down to South America to assist in training dogs that can be used in combat service. While serving his mission, however, the dogs' handler is mysteriously kidnapped. Left alone with the dogs and discovering that the handler is still alive, the soldier takes the pack and goes on the hunt to try and save him.
Making this thriller even more intriguing is the potential attachment of Martin Campbell to direct. The 69-year-old New Zealand director is the same man who directed two excellent James Bond films - "GoldenEye" and "Casino Royale" - so a finely-crafted action movie is definitely something he's familiar with.
Either way, I'm excited to see a film focused on combat dogs finally hitting theaters. As someone whose own grandfather had one save his life during WWII, these unsung heroes of the military deserve some additional time in the spotlight.
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