Movie Review: Max

The trailer for Max looked like it was going to be a film for which you would need to break out the Kleenex, yet surprisingly it wasn't that sad. Max focuses on its title character, a Marines dog who went to Afghanistan with his former owner, and who has some trouble adjusting to life back in the U.S. after his owner passes away during combat.

Kyle Wincott (Robbie Amell, The DUFF) and Max have been inseparable since he was a puppy. When Kyle dies during combat, Max is brought back to the U.S., and is very violent and also gets scared when there are loud noises. Interestingly enough, he calms down in the presence of Kyle's brother, Justin (Josh Wiggins), and the Marines give Justin and his family an ultimatum: either they take Max home, or he's going to be put down. With the help of Justin's friends Chuy (Dejon LaQuake) and his cousin Carmen (Mia Xitlali), Max starts to become normal again. However, Justin soon realizes something strange is going on with one of Kyle's war buddies, who also recently returned home, and the friend and the town sheriff claim that Max bit the sheriff and needs to be put down; Justin decides to investigate, and he and his friends get in over their heads.

I wish Robbie Amell had a larger part in this movie, because he was good here and also in The DUFF; however, we still have a fine cast here, including Lauren Graham and Thomas Haden Church as Justin's parents, and a good supporting cast too. My issue with Max is that, although it's mostly a "family-friendly" movie, it couldn't really decide if he wanted to be 100% family-friendly or not - there's guns involved in some scenes, and a little girl sitting near me at the screening I went to seemed to be confused about who was the "bad guy" in the film. The movie is rated PG, but I will say that there's some scarier scenes for younger kids, one of which involves Max, the German Shephard who is the star of the film.

Yes, see this movie, but save it for a matinee. It's a nice movie, but the script was sometimes stilted, and it's not one you need to pay full price to see. Carmen's family also has like seven or eight tiny puppies which were cute, and dog lovers will enjoy this film. Although the movie clocks in at almost 2 hours long, I wasn't ever bored during it, but by the time I wrote this review the next day, Max didn't stand out much in my mind as a "must-see" film.

Max is in theaters today, June 26th, and is rated PG with a runtime of 111 minutes. 3 stars out of 5.

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