In this continuation of the franchise that began with the 1997 release of the film Air Bud, the five offspring of the sports playing golden retriever Buddy, are about to embark on another adventure. This time, it’s Budderball (voiced by Jeremy Shinder), the most portly of the puppies, who gets the ball rolling. During a treasure hunt at his home on Fernfield Farm, the curious canine and his siblings Rosebud, Mudbud, Buddha and B-Dawg, (voiced by G. Hannelius, Ty Panitz, Tenzing Trainor, and Cooper Roth) unwittingly discover something unusual under the barn floorboards. The five colourful glowing rings seem like little more than fancy dog collars until the puppies try them on. Then mysteriously, each acquires an amazing super power.
Fortunately, Budderball’s owner Bartleby Livingstone (Trey Loney,) an aspiring artist and avid comic book reader, provides an explanation. The rings look suspiciously like the illustrations in his favourite comic, The Adventures of Kid Courageous and Captain Canine. According to the graphic novel, the hoops were crafted by an alien race and hidden on planet earth to protect them from a villainous enemy. What’s more, rumour has it that the author of the popular books may have based the story on actual events.
Although the pups find it hard to believe that the fanciful storyline could be anything but fiction, they adopt the heroic Captain Canine as their inspiration and set about using their newfound powers to protect their hometown. The resulting mischief, which leaves a police car badly damaged and a candy store reduced to a sticky mess, makes it obvious that while their intentions are good, these furry youngsters don’t know much about being heroes. And when the villain from the comic book manifests himself and threatens to destroy the planet, it’s up to the real Captain Canine (voice of Colin Hanks), to weld them into the crime fighting force they need to be.
Like the multitude of Buddy films preceding it, this one suffers from a flimsy plot that is stretched to movie length by tedious gags and silly antics. Expect plenty of slapstick humour and some name calling. It also leaves the heroics in the hands of the five puppies and their young owners, while incompetent adults only grace the screen for comic relief. But despite its faults and lack of parental appeal, the message of hard work and cooperation, along with the reminder that even ordinary people can do extraordinary things, does offer youngsters something super to chew on.