MAX DVD (2015)
SYNOPSIS: Max, a precision-trained military dog serves on the frontlines in Afghanistan until he loses his handler, U.S. Marine Kyle Wincott in the line of duty. Traumatised, Max is sent stateside where the only human he can connect with is Kyle's brother, Justin. The pair strikes up an unlikely friendship as they unravel a mystery that may deliver more excitement and danger than they bargained for.
Max started out as a tribute to all the dogs and their handlers who lost their lives in military service but in the end the supposedly meaningful movie makes way for something that is dark, generic and ultimately disappointing.
While on a routine mission in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Kyle Wincott (Robbie Amell) and his loyal canine, Max are ambushed by hidden enemies. Kyle is tragically killed and Max after suffering from severe PTSD faced being put down or return to Kyle’s family back in Texas. Max took an instant liking to Kyle’s troubled younger brother Justin (Josh Wiggins) and the two learns to bond with each other over the days.
This will probably go down the sentimental, heartwarming family route for others but director and writer Boaz Yakin (Safe, Now You See Me) has a far larger plan in mind. That is to turn Max into a heroic dog flick which has Max and Justin fighting against an illegal weapon-dealing cartel which conveniently involved Tyler (Luke Kleintank), the shady buddy of the late Kyle.
How Tyler managed to smuggle weapons out of military facilities all the way from Afghanistan to Texas and how he managed to get himself discharge from service is not crucial to the plotting. All the plot holes seems to be insignificant as Yakin spent most of the screentime depicting Justin and his friends, the comic relief Chuy (Dejon LaQuake) and love interest, Carmen (Mia Xitlali) and their bike action in the forest. Once a while, his parents played by Thomas Haden Church (Sideways) and Lauren Graham (Parenthood) pops in to impart family values and lesson and making sure Max is still doing fine.
With very little to pull the heartstrings or the meat to display the patriotic work our four-legged heroes have done for the country, Max resort to a climatic finish with plenty of dog fights, gunplay and pyrotechnics to entertain the viewers. Max hints of something far superior but instead of a loud ‘woof’, it’s a mere weak whimper. Those looking for an emotionally satisfying canine flick better check out Marley & Me or Eight Below.
Working with Max is a brief feature that showcases how the trainer got the dogs to act in front of the camera.
Although it looks like a TV feature, the visual quality is pretty handsome. Images are sharp with bright clean colors. Audio is serviceable and soft on the whole except for some nice cool action bits in the climax.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee