Before I begin this review, I want to state that I honor our country’s brave men and women who chose/choose to risk their lives protecting this nation and that I have the utmost respect for them (even some of my relatives have served). That being said; Max is directed by Boaz Yakin, written by Boaz Yakin and Sheldon Lettich. Stars: Thomas Haden Church, Josh Wiggins, and Mia Xitlali. Premise-When a U.S. Marine dies, his loyal dog must be adopted by his younger brother.
Think I just spoiled part of the story? Actually, the trailer already did that for me. Heck, the trailer literally gives away 75% of the movie in a two-minute runtime! In any case this movie is, in essence, bland. The premise sounds somewhat original, but honestly, there is hardly anything creative about this movie. During the first 15 minutes I saw some of the most obvious foreshadowing in cinema history, and a cast of unlikable characters to boot. Besides Max himself and his owner Kyle, no one else is emotionally compelling. The kids in particular are awful! Justin (Kyle’s brother) is written like an annoying brat who has no compassion, and if a writer chooses to do that, they MUST give the viewer something to like about the character beforehand, otherwise the audience won’t care about his endeavors. Mars Needs Moms made this mistake, and it is one of the top five biggest box office bombs in history. The female teen character is just an annoying smart-aleck, and the other male teen character speaks in only outdated slang (another mistake Mars Needs Moms made) and serves as the unfunny comic relief who does nothing. The acting isn’t much better, everyone besides Thomas Haden Church acts pretty poorly. If they had a better script that didn’t limit their characters to stereotypes they could have done better. Another thing this movie could have benefited from would be better direction. Throughout the movie, the camera…. never…. stops…. moving! It’s annoying, headache inducing, and distracting! The movie’s trailer was also intent on shoving in our faces was the loving bond between Justin and Max, so how well did they do that in the film? Horribly. It takes a while for Justin to show even the slightest bit of genuine love towards Max, and even then, he hardly puts enough effort into taking care of him. Take the movie War Horse, you could tell Albert’s love for Joey was prominent and he showed real love and effort in taking care of him. Here, Justin just looks disinterested in Max, and as a viewer, I felt more concerned for Max than Justin did!
Do I hate this movie? No. It just left no impact on me, and considering that war is one of the main plot points of this movie, that is an epic fail. With all the spectacular war films out there (The Imitation Game, Saving Private Ryan, etc.) Max doesn’t even come close. It has good intentions and a decent premise, but the execution was incredibly sloppy and the end product is just forgettable. Max gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a C.