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Max (2015) Reviewed By Jay

United States, 04 April 2014


Jay´s Review

How do you feel about animals? Do you like dogs? I certainly do! And here we have a dog who has not only earned our love, but our RESPECT! We become acquainted with the Malinois, which is a Belgian version of a German Shepherd, only a bit smaller.

Dogs have had an important role on battlefields since World War I and have been honored for bravery time and time again. There have been over 3,000 war dogs used in Iraq and Afghanistan; at the time of the filming (2014) 26 dogs and 25 handlers have died in Afghanistan.

This wonderful PG-rated movie, written and directed by Boaz Yakin ("Safe") is about a war dog. We first meet him in Afghanistan with his handler, who has trained him from a puppy. The two are inseparable until a betrayal leads them into a fatal encounter, which leaves the handler dead and the dog with a serious case of PTSD. His behavior at his handler's coffin in a small Texas town is goosebumps all the way!

Our cast:

  • * Carlos, in his debut performance, is Max, traumatized by events in Afghanistan and sent back to his handler's family in the United States to recuperate. He is grieving and vicious. By the way, can you imagine the impact of the Fourth of July fireworks on a traumatized war dog?
  • * Robbie Amell ("The Flash") is Kyle, Max's beloved Marine handler, too soon dead, so we see him only in flashbacks. His father taught his sons that a hero always tells the truth, even when it hurts.
  • * Thomas Hayden Church ("Lucky Them") is Ray Wincott, father of the dead Marine, led to believe that Max was the cause of his son's death. This former Marine sees no alternative but to put the dog down. 
  • * Lauren Graham ("Parenthood") is his wife, Pamela. She has lost her elder son and now is afraid of losing her increasingly defiant younger son. But just wait until this sweet Texas housewife gets angry!
  • * Josh Wiggins ("Hellion") is their younger son Justin. While endlessly playing his video war games, it never occurs to him that his brother might die, and he certainly has no interest in babysitting a DOG. But what a joy it is to see three teenagers on their bikes take on hardened criminals because it's the right thing to do!

This involving movie has clear-cut characters and situations, so we quickly come to love our hero, his family and his dog; fear and loathe the villains; feel the frustration of being a powerless teenager; and ache to see the truth revealed. The film slipped in under my radar so this was a pleasant surprise, and the screening audience actually applauded. Don't miss this one!

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