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Max (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 111 minutes.

OK for children.

Dog movies have been favorites for generations, starting with Rin-Tin-Tin (Rinty) and continuing with all the Lassie films. Even a film about a rambunctious, uncontrollable dog, Marley & Me (2008) became the highest grossing dog movie of all time (over $143 million). The only thing I didnít like about that film was the dog.

This one is the best Iíve seen. Max is a Malinois (a Belgian Shepherd) who was an MWD (a military working dog) in the mideast war. Mostly unknown by everyone, one of the key members of the SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden was a Malinois named Cairo who secured the perimeter, sniffed out bombs and attacked enemy combatants (ďZero Bark ThirtyĒ by Maureen Callahan, New York Post, April 14, 2013) .

Maxís master is killed and he becomes adopted by his masterís family back in the states, specifically, Justin Wincott (Josh Wiggins), who has a disaffected relationship with his parents, especially his father, Ray (Thomas Haden Church).

But this is a film about Max. As usual, the dog steals the film. Director/writer (with Sheldon Lettich) Boaz Yakin has made a film that has youthful romance, boy-dog affection, and a film of suspense with bad guys all around that held my interest throughout.

There are good performances by Lauren Graham as Justinís mother, Pamela, and Mia Xitlati as Carmen, Justinís girlfriend.