Max is the best movie I’ve seen this year (Editor’s note: Walter only watches dog movies). Max, a Belgian Malinois and military working dog (MWD), steals the screen from his 2-legged co-stars (ok, I’m biased). I recommend this movie for any dog lover, but with a few caveats…
First, it’s rated PG and clearly intended for a younger pre-teen audience. That said, parents should be mindful that it pushes its PG rating and is definitely more violent than your typical family friendly dog pic. However, if you’re ok letting your 12-year-old play war-based video games, then there’s nothing here that is over the top.
I have a great deal of respect for MWD’s. I know how to sit, roll over and fetch, but what these guys do is really impressive! I would have liked to see more of them in action and get a deeper insight into the bond between MWD’s and their handlers, but Max’s handler is killed in Afghanistan very early on in the movie, and the film focuses on a far-fetched (pardon the pun) plot that takes place after Max gets home and is adopted by his handler’s little brother. Their relationship is the centerpiece of the film as Max is dealing with PTSD and his new owner, a troubled youth, is dealing with the loss of his big brother.
While the story is a little unrealistic and there is no shortage of cheesy lines, Max does deliver some great K-9 action featuring the breed of choice of the U.S. military, the Belgian Malinois. These dogs have been in service since World War I, and a Belgian Malinois named Cairo was used by the U.S. Navy Seals on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. These dogs jump out of airplanes, rappel out of helicopters, and are instrumental to Seal operations. There’s a lot of cool information about their service with the Seals here: http://navyseals.com/2163/the-dogs-of-the-navy-seals/
In summary, I was hoping for a little more from Max, but if you love dog stories this one will scratch you where you itch.