Free Press Journal

Movie Review: Max – Family-friendly adventure

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Cast: Thomas Haden Church, Lauren Graham, Josh Wiggins, Luke Kleintank, Robbie Amell, Mia Xitali, Jay Hernandez, Dejon LaQuake
Director: Boaz Yakin
Man’s best friend, the four legged hero (bowwow) of this engaging coming of age film, follows in the best traditions of Rin Tin Tin and Lassie.  This “Max” isn’t a mad canine at all, but a hero with a mission which is accomplished surmounting dangers at home and abroad.Wow take a Bow.
A pedigreed dog (Malinois Belgian Shepherd)  Max is a veteran of  the killing fields of Afghanistan, where he  sniffed out bombs and weapons. (The end credits inform viewers that 35 dogs have died in combat) You’d think life would have been easier for Max in his  homeland after his handler, Marine Kyle Wincott (Robbie Amell), is killed in action in Afghanistan. But no, poor, stressed out  Max is in danger of being euthanised  by the Texan authorities or  shot dead by villains with dastardly designs. They say dogs can intuitively sense what people are all about. Max is drawn to Justin (Josh Wiggins) ,a rebellious teen who is unable to emulate his deceased brother and meet his parents’ expectations. That his father  Ray (Thomas Haden Church) is a veteran of the Iraqi war sets the bar even higher.  Along comes Carmen (Mia Xitlali), the perky cousin of Justin’s best friend Chuy (Dejon LaQuake) Like Max , Carmen too senses something amiss when Tyler (Luke Kleintank) a soldier from Kyle’s platoon, shows up.
 Director Boaz Yakin (“Remember the Titans”) who co-wrote the screenplay with ex Marine Sheldon Lettich, highlights the seamier side of  the American war effort (arms theft, casualties from”friendly” fire) Also, corruption (cops,underworld nexus) and prejudice (“Your dogs are used for dog fighting?” Ray asks Carmen who replies, “No, my brother rescues them”) It is the Mexicans who impress on Justin the importance of loyalty and respect for parents. Released to coincide with America’s Independence Day,family friendly “Max” makes for heartwarming viewing.