Max (2015): Family Approved 12+
Theatrical Release: 6/25/2015
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter/span>/span>
Writer: Boaz Yakin, Sheldon Lettich
Producer: Ken Blancato, Ben Ormand, Karen Rosenfelt, Boaz Ya
Director: Boaz Yakin
Runtime: 111 min.
MPAA Rating: PG
Starring: Thomas Haden Church, Josh Wiggins, Luke Kleintank, Lauren Graham, Robbie Amell
Military working dog Max, a Belgian Malinois, returns from service in Afghanistan traumatized by his handler’s death. He’s adopted by the fallen Marine’s family, and they help each other heal from their loss.
“Max” is a “make-you-feel-good” movie for the family, especially for those ages twelve and up. Some of the characters, Max included, go through a few ordeals before things get ironed out in the end. Newcomer Josh Wiggins and veterans Thomas Haden Church and Lauren Graham all do commendable jobs in their roles as the Wincott family.
The plot focuses on young Marine Kyle Wincott (Robbie Amell) who has trained and worked with a Belgian Malinois named Max, while serving in Afghanistan. Due to a fellow marine’s error, Kyle loses his life. His family-dad, mom and younger brother Justin-receive the bad news. Max is brought to the funeral service for Kyle, laying down sadly next to the flag-draped coffin. The dog takes a liking to Justin, and soon Justin brings him home to help the now-volatile dog settle down. They form a strong bond. When Kyle’s fellow marine, Tyler, comes to visit, Max is not friendly and soon Justin realizes something isn’t right. Justin becomes friends with a girl named Carmen, who also forms a friendship with Max. This coming-of-age story is fast paced, with never a dull moment.
Eventually Justin’s dad learns the secret Tyler is trying to keep hidden, which leads to a confrontation that requires Max’s immediate help or people may die. This action-filled drama shows the slow development of a relationship between Justin and his dad, and reminds the viewer that sometimes remarkable things can happen when you own a pet as cool as Max. We are happy to award “Max” our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for ages 12+. Max is one dog you’ll want for your best friend.
Sex: Teen boy and girl kiss.
Language: D-1; frickin-1; stupid-1; fool-1; H (as a biblical place)-1; shut up-1.
Violence: Scenes of war violence including shooting and explosions; dogs fight with some blood; people are shot at when men try to keep a secret from being revealed; punches are thrown; man with bloody scratches on face; when a dog keeps barking, a neighbor yells that he is going to kill the dog if they don’t shut him up; girl punches her cousin in the arm several times; gun held on dog; man shoots truck; dog and a character tumble down a drop-off; character throws bike in anger.
Drugs: Beer is offered to a man who turns it down.
Nudity: Shirtless boy; cleavage; girl in shorts.
Other: Death and grief; tension between characters including father and son; tattoo on girl; men lie; men do something illegal and are eventually caught.