Just another movie about a boy and his brother’s military dog.
Going into this film you think, maybe, just maybe, this is the one that proves it’ll more than just a movie about a boy, his dog, and what they did one summer. However, it’s not. Max spends 111 minutes going from one cliché to the next. A boy, played by Josh Wiggins, has to take on his war hero brother’s dog after unfortunate events unfold. Josh’s character, who is normally accustomed to playing video games and hanging out with his friends, now has to learn responsibility with the help of his new dog, who won’t trust anyone else.
You’d be hard fought to find anything original in this film. It starts off in a new and different direction for the genre with the backdrop of war. However, after several minutes, it ends up right where you thought it would. Next, there are a couple of small twists, but a very predictable chain of events. Boaz Yakin, who wrote and directed this film, played it safe from beginning to end, never venturing to do something that hasn’t been done before. At no point do you ever get the feeling that danger is really imminent or feel an attachment to any of the characters.
The characters read as flat and fall into stereotypes, from a war veteran father with little understanding of other cultures to a loving mother who spends most of the film cooking and doing the dishes. Josh’s character at moments shows signs of feeling in the movie, but throughout most of the movie his reactions are flat and confused. He does have a few good scenes that show glimmers of talent. The rest of the cast comes off as plain and trite. Max, played by six different dogs, was the real treat from beginning to end and seemed to be a real crowd-pleaser. His performance, along with those coordinating him, are the real treasures of this movie.
The film takes you on a journey you’ve been on before and offers a modicum of surprises along the way. For those in the market for a good family friendly movie, this is the movie for you. Kids will love to see the real star of the movie, Max, doing what he does best. However, there is little more reason to check this movie out.
The film hits theaters this Friday.