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Max

7/10
Adventure . Drama . Family
 

A dog that helped soldiers in Afghanistan returns to the U.S. and is adopted by his handler's family after suffering a traumatic experience.

 
Actors: Thomas Haden Church , Josh Wiggins , Lauren Graham , Robbie Amell , Mia Xitlali , Dejon LaQuake , Luke Kleintank , Jay Hernandez , Joseph Julian Soria , Owen Harn
Directors: Boaz Yakin
Country: USA
Release: 2015-06-26
More Info:
  • James Berardinelli

    Max is a throwback of sorts - a movie about the relationship between a boy and his dog. Lassie springs to mind as the genre classic, but this has a closer kinship to Rin Tin Tin. Although its sensibilities are old-fashioned, the movie offers a modern look and feel.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Walter Addiego

    The handsome and appealing Max, by the way, is played by five dogs. For the record, he is a Belgian Malinois, a breed that in real life is often used in police and military work.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Katie Walsh

    Max is a big slice of patriotic, down-the-middle genre fare, but it manages to work — and jerk a few tears along the way.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    This fine and welcome piece of family entertainment, directed by Boaz Yakin from a script he wrote with Sheldon Lettich, gets to a sweet spot by way of a smart premise, patriotic undertones and a coming-of-age story that’s downright stirring.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    Despite the overplaying, Max gets its job done, which is to celebrate the sacrifices of military dogs, while warming the cockles of your heart.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    In its last act, Max is reminiscent of Rin Tin Tin and Lassie serials, with a frosting of freshly minted multiculturalism.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    The heart of Max is a boy learning about an always faithful dog, and as sentimental and manipulative as their bonding moments are, that’s what works.

    Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Danny King

    It's another modest, functional success from a director who used to work on the margins.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Molly Eichel

    When the films sticks with heart-tugging soldier stuff, it's not bad. When it goes beyond that premise, it becomes so entirely outlandish that it's not enjoyable anymore.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Susan Wloszczyna

    Instead of building upon the welcome openness of that potentially healing father-son encounter, Max stumbles through some iffy crime-thriller territory and ends up pushing its PG rating to its limit.

    RogerEbert.com Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    As the intrepid kids and the fearless hound unravel a nefarious weapons-dealing scheme, Max finds its sweet spot, leaving behind its overwrought patriotic swagger and settling into the kind of story that would fill a decent hour of television.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Tom Russo

    These promising themes aren’t given much more than surface treatment, making for a movie as conveniently tidy as some coming-home schmaltz on basic cable.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Barbara VanDenburgh

    It's the Walmart of feel-good family films: accessible, cheaply made, useful in a pinch and full of American flags.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • John Hazelton

    Max is a genial if somewhat old-fashioned tale that’s too clunky to transcend its genre(s) but effective enough within its own limited emotional range.

    Screen International Full Review
  • Inkoo Kang

    None of these plot points are run through with any thoughtfulness or panache. Despite a great, unaffected performance by Wiggins — the only one among the cast — and the primal joy of seeing the dog actors sprinting, leaping and maybe even emoting, the film is sunk because the characters never transcend their seeming origins in a Disney Channel movie project.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    It is dull and weird — weird in that way that it is pronounced we-ee-eird, the stretched vowel signaling a weirdness that is probably unconscious on the part of the filmmakers.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    There’s a touching story here about a boy getting over his grief and narcissism by nursing a dog through its own set of traumas, but Max is far too gung-ho about playing up the pup’s heroism and self-sacrifice to give it much time to develop.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Sheri Linden

    The screenplay muddles its emotional core with a clunky cross between old-fashioned Hardy Boys mystery and a far-fetched weapons-trafficking subplot.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Geoff Berkshire

    It’s too bad the film doesn’t provide a better sense of what makes the Belgian Malinois so uniquely suited to the battlefield, or find a way to pay more than lip service to the deep bonds developed between military men and animals.

    Variety Full Review
  • Eric Henderson

    It hits its Red State beats so hard that its target audience likely won't notice they're being not only condescended to, but insulted outright.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    Director Boaz Yakin (“Remember the Titans”) indulges in an awful lot of gunplay for a PG-rated family film, but sure knows how to stage a dirt-bike race. The Belgian malinoises who play Max way out-act the humans.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    Dullness, as well as hoary preachiness, neuters the family-and-their-war-dog drama Max.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • James White

    The truly effective emotional arc is handed to the furry member of the cast.

    Empire Full Review
  • Tom Huddleston

    This is a busy, moderately entertaining slice of family-friendly fluff. It’s flatly directed and functionally acted.

    Time Out London Full Review
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  • afghanistan

  • war

  • based on true story

  • rescue

  • betrayal

  • dog

  • grieving

  • death of marine

  • dog adoption

  • man dog relationship

  • u.s. marine

  • dog movie

  • belgian malinois

  • friendship

  • dog actor

  • one word title

  • character name in title

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