When a young marine veteran Kyle Wincott gets killed in war, his war dog Max, suffers from post dramatic stress. Max is set to be put down because he won't listen to anyone else accept from Kyle, but all that changes when he meets Justin, Kyle's younger brother. Justin and his family adopt Max and both Justin and Max's lives will never be the same again.
Mans Best Friend
After their first major weapons bust they found in a Afghanistan compound, Kyle and Max get called to the bosses office to be notified about some weapons have gone missing from the weapons they just found at the compound, that the picture they took of the weapons seem to have more than they initially reported, but its not enough to raise alarm bells. Kyle looks at the two officers sitting behind their desk and says to them both "I just handle the dog, sir." Kyle's life long friend Tyler is next in line to get questioned by the two officers and Kyle gives him a hard long stare before being called in to the office.
The next day the marines and Max are on their next patrol, with Max out in the distance to keep the group of marines more cautious and safe. Kyle and Tyler talk about yesterday's questioning with the officers and Kyle didn't know what Tyler was up to, till finding out yesterday and he can't keep covering for him anymore. "I can't cover for you anymore. Put the breaks on or i will," Kyle demands his so called friend and noticing Max stopped walking, meaning Max has noticed something out the ordinary, Kyle tells the group of marines behind him to stop walking.
Kyle tells Tyler that Max wants them to stay put and Tyler disagrees with Kyle, telling him to send the dog out anyway because they have "Orders." Kyle orders Max to walk on further and so he does, but once Max reaches a rock on the side of the dirt road, a man hides behind it and detonates a bomb, blowing himself up and possible Max along with him. Kyle runs straight in to the cloud of dust that floats around the explosion and shouts for Max, with gun fire shooting from all kinds of directions towards Kyle. Kyle shouts for Tyler and he doesn't respond, as Tyler is hiding behind a stone wall from the gun fire. When the gun fire slowly stops, Tyler runs towards where Kyle was shouting and see's Max barking at him, protecting Kyle's dead body.
I love movies where they start off with action straight away, so they can show the audience the roles of the characters and possibly what the rest of the movie could be about. You can see from the start of the movie that Kyle and Max have a strong relationship bond with one another as you see them communicating and understanding each other on a personal level and how Kyle went to protect Max when a man went to try shoot him with a hand pistol when Max found his first major weapons bust.
As for the questioning with the two officers, i was confused at first what they could be possibly asking Kyle and what their suspicions were. It made more sense when Kyle and Tyler had their conversation the next day while on their patrol and Tyler cleared things up as he was talking about the questioning. Kyle didn't know what Tyler was up to and said he can't cover for him anymore and this made me think that Tyler was doing something bad and maybe illegal behind Kyle's back.
When the suicide bomber exploded i thought for sure that Max had died along with the bomber and thought i knew what the rest of the story was going to be about, that its going to be another typical movie about its owner being depressed and finds comfort from another dog he connects with. Well that wasn't the case, Kyle was the one who died because he was trying to protect Max and he was also shouting for his "Friend" Tyler, who is a huge COWARD! For leaving Kyle alone to get killed and you know that Max knew that Tyler was the one to blame as you see Max barking viciously at Tyler when he goes to check Kyle.
My Best Friends Funeral
It's the day of Kyle's funeral and the church is jam packed full of people, singing along with the choir singers who are at the back of Kyle's coffin that is covered with the American flag. Kyle's parents are sad, with his father looking to be in deep thought, his mother crying her eyes out and wiping her face with a tissue and Justin who is just staring in to space, angrily. The choir and the rest of the room are interrupted by the sound of a dog crying and weeping as two marine officers bring in Max and walk down the middle of the church with Max struggling to get to Kyle's coffin. Max soon gets to his coffin and jumps up on his hind legs and leans against the coffin, wondering where Kyle is and lies down in disappointment.
When the funeral is over, Max refuses to leave with the two marine officers, chewing and pulling aggressively on his lead. Max turns around from the marine and takes a liking towards Justin, Kyle's brother. One of the Marines asks "Who might you be?" His mother tells him he,s Kyle's brother and the marine says "I guess Max already figured that out." The marine asks Justin if he would walk back the dog to the van with them, so it's easier for Max without refusing to leave Kyle's coffin. "Here comes the hard part" the marine says to the family and Max is in the back of the van with a muzzle around his snout, showing the marines face with scratches and hair muffled up.
It wasn't long for the comfort of the movie to kick in as we see Max find out that Kyle has a brother and looks up at him as if he was Kyle. Maybe this is because they have the same scent as each other and Max thinks he's Kyle or the closest thing to Kyle. I also liked how they lightened the situation up with some humour when the marine says "Here comes the hard part" and shows his face covered in scratch marks, telling the audience that he had a real struggle with Max when putting him back in the back of the van.
Tyler's Back In Town
Justin's family are having dinner and Justin has a new friend over, Carmen. Carmen was helping Justin train his other new friend Max, as the family adopted him, so he would't be put down. Max is suffering with stress and needs training, this is how Justin and Carmen fond their new friendship. Carmen soon starts to feel awkward as Pamela (Justin's Mother) starts to cry at the dinner table and tells her about Kyle, but as soon as things get more awkward the door bell rings and Justin answers it, its Tyler.
"Can i come in" says Tyler who is holding a bunch of red flowers for the family, shaking hands with Ray (Justin's Father) and hugging Pamela, handing her the bunch of red flowers. Tyler explains that he's on medical discharge because he has shrapnel up and down his back, lodged in to his spine. "doesn't it hurt...With all that metal in your back?" asks Carmen, who is still sat at the dinner table. Tyler responds and tells her that it does hurt and he's on so much medication that he can't feel it, asking Carmen who she is, in the process of trying to answer for himself.
Pamela tells Tyler Carmen is Justin's friend who is helping him and before she explains what Carmen is helping him with, she takes Tyler to the back yard to show him Max. When Tyler notices Max tied up in the middle of the garden, he is shocked and surprised to see him and Max starts to bark at Tyler. Max is so traumatised to see Tyler, that he pulls his lead so hard that it comes free and runs towards Tyler with his sharp barking teeth. Justin and Carmen calm the situation down as Tyler goes back in to the house all shook up on what just happened and calm Max down, telling him to "Sit" & "Stay."
I think Justin has a new crush and not just a friend, but that's pretty obvious i thought from watching the two flirt with each other and Justin's friend Chuy feels awkward on how well their bonding with each other. It was also a clever way how they made the two characters bond with each other through her love of dogs and his lack of dog knowledge, which lead them both to train Max together.
It was a matter of time Tyler showed his face wasn't it? And made perfect timing to show as the family and Carmen are having dinner together. It also made me think when Carmen asked him "doesn't it hurt?" that it was possible for him to be lying because we didn't actually see him get in to any action when he was on the battlefield and refused to save Kyle. Surely he would be paralysed or badly in pain, since he did get medical discharged so early and wouldn't be able to recover so quick. Unless! He's a mutant that can heal himself quickly!...Imagine!
Justin Finds Out The Truth
Justin pays the marine who gave him Max a visit, because Tyler told Ray that Max was the one who got Kyle killed in action. Witnessing his own father pull a gun and aim it at Max, Justin had to find out for himself to stop Ray assuming bad things about Max and so he has questions to ask the marine. He explains to the marine that his brothers friend Tyler, had come home early due to medical reasons and told his dad stuff about Max, that he got Kyle killed. The marine starts searching on his computer to find information about Tyler and finds out that he isn't on medical leave, "but In the meantime...This is classified," handing Justin a CD as he finishes telling him about Tyler, "This is for your eyes only."
Justin goes over to Carmen's house to see what is on the CD he had just received from the marine, pushing it in to the DVD player and pressing play. It's a recording of Max as a puppy and how he was trained, showing how Max was brought up and putting Justin's mind at rest for thinking that Max got Kyle killed. Justin see's his brother Kyle show up on the TV and bonding with his new puppy best friend Max, playing, teaching, feeding and seeing how happy Max made Kyle feel. While witnessing this emotion DVD for himself, Justin whispers under his breath, "He's a liar."
I liked this scene because we get to see Justin find out the truth about Tyler and see how Kyle raised Max as puppy. It was emotional to watch the DVD with Justin & Carmen, because it reveals to the audience that Tyler was lying all this time and that Max would not do such a thing. Max was playing and having fun with Kyle all throughout the DVD and had a wonderful nature of a dog. You knew he would be your best friend if he was ever your dog and the only thing i would of liked in this scene is for him to show the DVD to his dad, who doesn't believe that Max is a good dog and to show him that he was wrong to think that.
Max, The Sniffer Dog
After watching the DVD with Carmen, he gets orders from his friends cousin Emilio, to make him a pirate copy of a new console game that is out next week & in the process in making the deal, Emilio gets a phone call from Tyler and Justin has his suspicions. Once Justin receives payment from Emilio for the pirate game, he then gets Max to sniff the money so he can track and follow where Emilio is driving to. Justin follows Max who is in front of Justin and sniffing out Emilio's tracks and comes to a remote location, where Justin has to ride his bike through the woods.
Justin and Max can see a bunch of cars parked around each other, with men getting out of the cars and see's Emilio & Tyler. Tyler gets out of his car and walks over to the men who are all wearing leather jackets and hands them a assault rifle gun to look at, saying "If you really wanna take down a bird...Go get the RPG" he says to his buddy who goes to get the rocket launcher out the back of Tyler's car. When Max see's the man get the RPG from the back of the car, Max starts to get stressed and agitated while spying in the bushes with Justin.
Two Rottweilers guards of the gunmen, can hear scuffling in the bushes where the two spy's are hiding, "Probably some critters, a coyote or something" says one of the men holding the RPG in his hands. The two Rottweilers are set out to run in to the woods to see what the noise was, just after Justin and Max took off, but are still close behind them both. One of the Rottweilers run towards Justin as soon as he goes to get on his bike and Max comes in, tackling the Rottweiler to the floor and protecting Justin. The other Rottweiler runs in and Max also fights him off , with the gunmen who are now running in to the woods to see what's happening.
Max looks back at Justin who is trapped up against a tree and sprints between the two Rottweilers so they chase him, giving Justin time to get on him bike and escape the wooded area. The Rottweilers stop to sniff out Max and Max comes in from no where to bite one of them from behind and pushes the other down a ditch. Justin on the other hand is riding through the woods and falls off his bike, bending the front wheel, making him walk through the woods with the men close behind. Justin is now comes to a road, meeting Max from his fight and hitchhikes a ride off a stranger.
This part of the movie was so awesome in every way. We get to see Justin use Max's ability and sniff out where Emilio was driving to and they actually found him! Imagine having a dog with such amazing ability like that, you wouldn't have to find your house key's ever again if you couldn't find them. If i was Justin in that position and finding out you're spying on a dodgy gun deal in the middle of the woods, i'm going to guess it would be very intense and scary to watch while you have a post dramatic stressed dog that could bark at any minute, giving your position away.
When they released the Rottweilers in to the woods to find what was making the noise, was the most intense part of the scene, because...Do i have to explain? Just because it would be scary as hell, getting chased by two crazy huge Rottweilers. The awesome part was when Max comes in to save Justin and fights them both off. In any other typical movie or in real life, the Rottweilers would probably beaten Max in the fight and resulted in him getting injured badly, that's what iv'e witnessed before on some movies on dogs.
Ready For Round Two
When Justin gets home from spying on Tyler making deals with what seems to be the cartel, a Mexican mafia gang. Tyler is in his house sitting next to his mother, while his buddy who was holding the RPG is dressed in a fake Sheriff outfit, telling his mother that Max has bitten his hand. The fake Sheriff tells them that he will drop all charges if they put down Max and Justin denies everything the two criminals are saying to Pamela. Pamela believes Tyler and the Sheriff over her own son and give Max to the dog pound the next day to be put down.
Ray who also has his suspicions about Tyler can't make any sense on why his own son would be so far from his town, so he goes to speak with his son but there's no answer from Justin as he wants to keep his mouth shut, because Tyler threatened him and his family. Ray goes to his storage company where he hired Tyler for work and finds out that Tyler was keeping military weapons in storage and framed Max to be killed at the dog pound. Emilio comes in from behind with a gun held towards Ray saying, "Which means you should of stayed home."
Pamela and Justine have reported Ray missing but the police can't file a missing person's case until they've gone missing over 48 hours, so Justin, Carmen and her cousin Chuy go to find Ray them selves now that Max escaped from the dog pound and found his way back home. They use Max sniffing skills to find Ray, which takes all night riding through the woods, climbing steep hills and swimming across a river to they find Ray down in one of the canyons, where Ray is held hostage by the men.
Chuy's phone goes off as they're on top of the cliff, overlooking the gunmen and set out the last Rottweiler they have, since Max got the other one put down from injuring it. "Ready For Round Two" with the two dogs colliding with each other, biting and jumping on top of each other. "Fight smart Max" says Justin & Max sprints off with the Rottweiler trying to keep up. Max pushes down the tired Rottweiler down a steep hill and fight once more down by a fast flowing river, where Max finds the strength to push the Rottweiler in.
I was so frustrated watching this part, seeing Tyler and Max get framed by Tyler and the fake Sheriff, so Max would have to be killed. If i was Justin i would of phoned the police to come to my house, because what's the fake Sheriff going to do then? Pretend to work for the police still or he would deny everything and flee from the house. Obviously they could't do that in the movie because the movie would be over there and then! As i was saying...I was frustrated seeing his mother not believe him and agree with the fake Sheriffs terms to put Max down the next morning.
I was glad that Ray found out about Tyler and his illegal antics with selling military guns to the Mexicans, but also gutted that he got held hostage by the gunmen. This also made the movie more intense and thrilling to watch as we see Justin, Carmen and Chuy go on an adventure across town and in to the forest to follow Max's trustworthy strong sense of smell, resulting in them finding Ray.
This movie was so entertaining to watch that i didn't include some of the important scenes that i loved myself or i would of just be talking about every scene in the movie. I can't point out one bad scene that i would normally think "Well that was pointless to put in a movie." Instead i was overcome by emotion and made me think about my relationship with my dog, which i think a lot of dog owners would do after watching this heartfelt movie.
Before watching Max, i didn't really want to watch it because it was made by the same producers of Marley & Me, the saddest dog movie in the world and one movie i refuse to watch ever again. I watched Max purely to write this blog post and i wasn't disappointed what so ever, i'm glad i gave it the chance to show me what the movie was all about. The beginning of the movie was the saddest, but they ripped the band aid of fast and quick, making the rest of the movie more enjoyable to watch with out thinking its going to be a sad ending.
The only thing i wanted to see was Justin showing Ray, his father the DVD the marine gave him, which showed him the bond between Kyle and Max. Apart from that, the overall movie was great and its a superb movie to share with the whole family on a Sunday night with a bowl of popcorn.
- What did you think of the overall movie?
- What was your favourite scene? & Why?
- What was your least favourite scene? & Why?
- Did you shed a tear?
- Did it make you think of the relationship with your own dog?