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Director: Boaz Yakin
Writers: Boaz Yakin, Sheldon Lettich
Cast: Thomas Haden Church, Josh Wiggins, Luke Kleintank, Lauren Graham, Robbie Amell, Mia Xitlali, Dejon LaQuake, Jay Hernandez, Owen Harn, Joseph Julian Soria, Raymond W. Beal, Edgar Arreola, Jason Davis, Pete Burris, Miles Mussenden
Synopsis: A dog that helped US Marines in Afghanistan returns to the U.S. and is adopted by his handler's family after suffering a traumatic experience.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements
0.7 / 10
- Interesting concept about making a film that not only pays homage to dogs serving in the military, but to help shed some light on poor canines that suffer from PTSD.
- Thomas Haden Church wasn't that bad.
- Lousy directing
- Crappy writing
- Forgettable stories and characters
- Follows every cliche in the damn book when it pertains to this kind of story.
- Everything about this movie is predictable, and I don't mean that in a good way either.
- The drug cartel people in this film are morons
- Cheesy over the top story that makes it feel like it should've been a made for TV movie instead.
Sometimes Hollywood can give us great concepts to explore, but they'll get executed in the most generic cliche way possible
Before watching "Max", I honestly had no idea that dogs could suffer PTSD, nor did I know that the Marines have been using dogs, in various military missions. After reading through a few sources, it seems this film's concept isn't that far reality. Sadly, many dogs suffer from this condition, and it's not just dogs that the U.S. Marines use either. According to some studies, dogs can generally suffer PTSD if they go through a traumatic emotional experience (i.e. surviving a tornado).
After looking this up, I became somewhat intrigued by this film to the point that I wondered how much of this concept would the movie be willing to explore. As far as I know, there's never been a Hollywood film exploring how a dog gets over PTSD before, so this could provide a slightly different take on the "boy and his dog" cliche scenario. Sadly, I was wrong.
The story follows a young boy that loses his brother recently, as he dies fighting overseas in Afghanistan. Before he died, he was serving in the Marines, with the aid of a dog that he used for various missions. The dog's name is Max, and through a series of events, the boy finds himself taking care of his brother's old dog that helped him in Afghanistan. And if you've seen a lot of "boy and his dog" movies before, then chances you know exactly how this plays out.
Not only does the PTSD get largely underplayed, but "Max" comes off as a cheaply made for TV movie about some kid bonding with a dog; complete with the stereotypical Hallmark family film cliches. You have the overbearingly strict father figure that's a bit of a dick. An overly protective and caring mother, who acts as the voice of reason. A girl that's too rebellious to wear girly clothes, as one guy even says to her, "Shouldn't you be wearing a skirt?" I'm sorry, but this is 2015. Not the goddamn 1950's. Why the hell does a girl need to wear a skirt because she's a f**king girl?
And to top it off, she's used in the whole cliche "boy meets girl" romance shtick with the main protagonist. You know the one. She's a friend, who happens to be girl, but she's not my girlfriend sort of nonsensical crap. It wouldn't really bother me so much if they didn't make it blatantly obvious they were going to hook up at the f**king end anyway.
Like all films of this ilk, you know the boy isn't going want to have the damn dog at beginning, but they're going to bond. Something is going to happen to tear them apart..blah blah.
And you want to know what makes the story even stupider? Enter a drug cartel buying illegal weapons that only our three kid protagonists and Max can stop. Oh my god. Can this movie get anymore predictable? First of all, I know that movies like this aren't meant to be taken seriously, and it's one of those light hearted family movies that most parents will take their kids to, so they'll shut up for a couple of hours.
However, with great movies like "Inside Out" in theaters, you have to wonder who the hell would take their kids to see this nonsensical crap? The movie itself is a joke, as it does almost NOTHING to differentiate itself from various "boy and his dog" stories before it; apart from the PTSD angle. But even that can be argued too.
If you honestly changed the script of the damn movie, to where the dog was some random stray that followed the boy home, then it wouldn't have affected the story in the slightest. If anything, you'd still be watching the exact same freaking movie. The fact that the film tries to justify itself by trying to be this elaborate homage to dogs that served in the military is laughable because this movie does nothing to make itself stand out.
As I said during my "Man of Steel" review, a great critic should only judge a movie based on what it is rather than what you want it to be, and i stand by that notion wholeheartedly. And in the case of "Max", it's a badly written over the top cliche movie. Seriously, the only way this film could've been any campier would be if it had some goofy sound effects and background music, during the action scenes.
Overall, "Max" is arguably the most forgettable movie of 2015. It may not be anywhere near as bad as "Fifty Shades of Grey" or "Jupiter Ascending", but it comes pretty damn close. And for that reason alone, I would advise everyone to avoid this piece of crap.