The “dogs of war” deserve lionization; seldom celebrated heroes; saviors of countless lives; devoid of a cowardly gene, their devotion unequaled, unparalleled in the throes of battle. “Max” (Belgian Malinois) is such a beast and his story is one of gritty entertainment; you’ll root for Max as you did the “War Horse”; screen writer, Sheldon Lettich (first -hand knowledge as a former war veteran) reveals how the unbreakable link between man and mammal is forged and the consequences when it is severed irreparably.
“Justin”, (keen performance by Josh Wiggins) a disgruntled teenager, inherits his brother’s military dog; his intransigent father “Ray” (always terrific Thomas Haden Church), gruffness inherited from being wounded in the first Gulf War, blisters at his son’s inadequacies; the magic of Max is the transformation of Justin, Max and Ray as all are altered, tamed simultaneously.
“Max” morphs into a benign thriller, with undulating bicycle races; a healthy dose of nefarious egos; overcoming jejune predictability; at its core is the pure, pulsating, potent heart of a remarkable creature; man’s protector, friend; a canine of considerable consideration, worthy of man’s highest esteem and fidelity.
THREE & 1/2 STARS