A best friend, a hero and a marine. Max serves as military dog paired with handler Marine Kyle Wincott (Robbie Amell) in Afghanistan. After weapons are found to be missing from the base, Kyle is questioned and realises that his friend and colleague Tyler (Luke Kleintank) is responsible for the stolen goods. After advancing on a suspect, Max serves as lead and after fighting ensues, Kyle is fatally wounded. Distraught, Max is unable to keep his service and is sent home. Back in America, Kyle’s younger brother Justin (Josh Wiggins) brushes with the law and his family. After the funeral service to which Max attends, the dog recognises and forms an attachment with Justin, leading them to adopt their lost son’s dog. Through their relationship, both Justin and Max learn from one another and discover the secrets the surround the truth to his brother’s passing.
For a family-friendly film, Max contains a surprising amount of action violence scenes through the military scenarios. It plays a heavy depiction of war and weaponry and may be too much for younger viewers. The film trails between the lines of family and action genre, a offbeat combination of both that is more than enough to draw various types of viewers. However, the film emphasises on the importance of family and friendship, discussing issues that families, especially those with military connections, are challenged with. Through this, Max provides an emotional narrative that plays on the feelings of the viewers, even more so with the involvement of a canine cast member.
Led by Belgian Malinois Carlos, furry member Max shines in his role as a dedicated and loyal friend and service dog. Amell is endearing and brave, juxtaposed with Kleintank who plays a spineless Marine taking advantage of his position and his friends. As the younger brother, Wiggins connects with Max and shows a maturity that is noteworthy. Supported by parents Thomas Haden Church and Lauren Graham, Max is a sweet film for all dog lovers and patriots.