Max Blu-ray Review
There have been many famous dogs over the years that have graced the silver screen. We’ve had Rin-Tin-Tin, Lassie, Benji, Old Yeller, Hooch and even Scooby Doo. Each brought personality that audiences fell for. MAX is the newest entry to the dog movie field. He may not reach the lofty heights of some of his predecessors, but he does make a solid mark in family entertainment.
Max (played mostly by Carlos) is a Belgian Malinois who works for the military in high stress situations in Afghanistan. He sniffs out IEDs, weapons and enemy positions. His handler is a Marine named Kyle (Robbie Amell). Kyle has followed his father’s (Thomas Haden Church) path in the military. His father was injured in the first Gulf War. Kyle also has a younger brother in Justin (Josh Wiggins) and a supportive mother (Lauren Graham). Kyle’s best friend is Tyler (Luke Kleintank), who likes to bends the rules over there and Kyle has started to resent this. Tragedy happens in a nasty firefight and Max is taken off duty.
Back home Justin does not get along with his father and his ways. His father wants him to work at his storage unit place. Justin instead spends his days playing video games and selling pirated versions of these games. He also goes biking with his good buddy Chuy (DeJon LaQuake). Chuy is one of the most annoying characters I’ve come across in a long time. His vocal delivery is irritating to say the least and just grates with every syllable that comes out of his mouth. Chuy has a tomboy for a cousin named Carmen (Mia Xitlali), who Justin fancies at first sight. Chuy also has cousin named Emilio (Joseph Julian Suria). Emilio travels on the wrong side of the tracks and threatens Justin to make him a pirated copy of a popular game by a certain amount of time.
All of the characters are getting used to Max in the states. Max is still traumatized by the war and not trusting of people. Justin’s father is not exactly fond of the dog and keeps him outside for everyone’s safety. Justin gets help from Carmen in training Max. She has experience working with dogs and specifically pit bulls. Tyler is back from the war and he is telling lies on what happened with Kyle and the actions of Max. It makes Justin’s father trust Max even less and he gives Justin a deadly ultimatum.
Director/Screenwriter Boaz Yakin has crafted a capable family film that tugs on the heart strings on several occasions. The action with Max and some other dogs is well done. I frankly don’t know how they did some of these things without any animal getting hurt. But the end of the film saw the stamp of approval by the Humane Society, so all the fears can be expunged there.
The film is fairly straight forward. You pretty much know where it is headed. Tyler and Emilio are the bad guys involved in some heady stuff. The teens and Max will somehow get tangled with this business and you go from there. Even though there are little surprises to be had, there are still some good tense scenes to be had. And you do want to know how all the combatants will end up.
MAX will not rate among the classics, but it does its job credibly as good family entertainment. If you are not affected by some of these scenes, then check your pulse.
Video: North Carolina looked great on the screen. The beautiful streams and greenery stands out. It is just a nice looking film.
Audio: The sound was mostly solid.
Working with Max (4:49): The actors, director and animal handlers talk about working with the various dogs that played Max. Carlos was the main dog that played Max.
Hero Dogs: A Journey (7:43): This feature goes over what Belgian Malinois do in combat and how they prepare for that. The dogs are task driven.