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Max

An overly long, rote tale of kids and a dog fighting crime, dressed up in patriotic ribbons

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Max, a Belgian shepherd, is a U.S. Marine, stationed in Khandahar, Afghanistan.

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The mission goes wrong; Max's handler, Kyle, is killed; and the dog returns stateside with PTSD.

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Max bunks down with Justin, Kyle's disaffected younger brother. Each needs a friend.

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For the first 20 minutes, Max might be an OK movie, exploring the collateral damage to a family suffering a tragic loss, and how caring for a similar damaged animal might spur healing.

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But Max goes right off the rails with idiotic villain subplots, and not-true-in-real-life doggy derring-do.

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Ultimately, the film plays out like a super-long after-school special, where kids and a dog roust out the bad guys (and bad dogs) and everybody ends up even better friends when it's over.

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