I wasn’t very keen on watching this movie at first because I have no special affinity for dogs, but when I read on the back cover of this 2015 DVD that it is about how Max and Justin form an unlikely relationship that I decided to find out more.
Max (played by a Belgian Malinois named Carlos) is a highly trained military canine, handled by Kyle Wincott (Robbie Amell). When Kyle is killed in the Afghanistan war, Max is traumatised and faces the possibility of being put down because he would not listen to anyone else. He is sent home to America with Kyle’s body and attends his funeral. The scene in which Max approaches Kyle’s casket in church and refusing to budge shows what a strong bond they had and how attached Max is to Kyle is so touching that I teared up. Max is adopted by Kyle’s family because Justin (Josh Wiggins), Kyle’s brother, is the only person Max could connect with. Justin is reluctant at first, but they learn to trust each other and unravel what really happened to Kyle. They become the best of friends, with the help of Justin’s friend Chuy’s (Dejon LaQuake) cousin Carmen (Mia Xitali)
More than just a movie about a heroic dog, it is also about responsibility, relationships and ethics. Dogs are not only good judges of character but are actually also very smart and loving creatures; they are often dear and faithful, and gives unconditional affection and absolute commitment to their owners. The plot is also action packed and intense. There is suspense with bad guys, as well as tears. It also has youthful romance, family values, friendship, father-son issues (the father is played by Thomas Haden Church) and bonding.
Credit must go to the director of photography as the cinematography is great. The stunt coordinator and performers, as well as the animal handlers/coordinator/trainers, have done an awesome job. Both the visual and sound effects are effective. The music used evokes emotions – whether it is about the characters or Max or the twist that happens. I especially like Forever Young, the Bob Dylan song during the end credits performed by Blake Shelton. The ending is satisfying too – “A hero always tells the truth no matter what the consequences”.