I found this on VHS at a thrift shop and couldn't believe I hadn't heard about it previously. I was super excited to watch this film since it starred Patrick Swayze, who is one of my guilty pleasures with a trio of his movies: Dirty Dancing, Road House, and Next of Kin (overlooked in Swayze's canon of films, as good, if not better than Road House). Unfortunately, Black Dog didn't live up to my expectations, especially with Swayze doing some of his weakest acting.
The plot is about an ex-trucker pulled back on the road to haul a load of contraband to save his family from being killed. Meat Loaf plays a bad guy trying to intercept and steal the load for himself. Randy Travis is a would be country song writer, who is riding shotgun with Swayze and his motives as to which side he is on remain suspect.
While Swayze was never the greatest actor, he usually could tear up a role that called for over the top tough/sensitive guy histrionic acting. In Black Dog, Swayze's acting is weak, either he didn't have the right direction or his heart just wasn't in this film. Meat Loaf is his dependable self as the bible verse spouting bad guy, but the real revelation here is Randy Travis. He's so good that the film would have been better with Travis as the lead. Maybe the part of Earl, "a good-ole boy wanna-be country song writer", just came too easy for him, whatever it was, he is superb in his role and is the only reasson I would recommend watching Black Dog.