Max, rated PG
Max is a military dog. I thought he was a German Shepherd, but was actually a Belgian Malinois. Max has been trained since he was a pup to serve as a military dog by Kyle Wilcott (Robbie Amell). Max would serve the Marines in Afghanistan by going ahead of them at Kyle’s direction to search out weapons and bombs.
When Kyle is killed in an attack, Max is sent home. He is suffering from the loss of Kyle and PTSD; he’s considered unfit for duty and is going to be put down. The Wilcott family – military veteran father Robbie (Thomas Haden Church), mother Pamela (Lauren Graham), and younger son Justin (Josh Wiggins), who loves to ride his bike with friends and also makes money by selling illegally downloaded and copied video games, agree to take the traumatized Max in order to save his life. Justin, who is not close to his father, is told by him that he will have responsibility for the hard to handle dog, who seems to recognize that Justin is the brother of his former handler. Justin also gets help from his best friend Chuy’s (Dejon LaQuake) cousin Carmen (Mia Xitlali), who Justin immediately takes a liking to.
Tyler (Luke Kleintank), Kyle’s friend and former squad mate who survived the battle that Kyle was killed in, returns home. He tells Kyle’s family that he suffered injuries from the explosion that killed Kyle, and thus why he was sent back home. Soon he is hired by Robbie at his storage locker business. But both Kyle and Robbie have secrets. Kyle’s secret will lead to a major plotline in the film.
The film kept our interest, was entertaining and well-made. It’s a film that will appeal to a lot of young boys (there were a number in the showing we attended) and dog lovers. The film shows a family trying to stay together after the grief of losing a son and brother. The family does seem to have faith, particularly mother Pamela. The film will pull on your emotional heartstrings and contains some violence, both between people and dogs.
The film is directed by Boaz Yakin, who directed the 2000 film Remember the Titans, starring Denzel Washington. The film is dedicated to military dogs and their handlers, about 26 of each have been killed in battle in the past decade.