Max is a 2015 American adventure film directed by Boaz Yakin, and co-written with Sheldon Lettich. The film stars Josh Wiggins, Dejon LaQuake, Thomas Haden Church, Robbie Amell, Lauren Graham, Luke Kleintank, and Jay Hernandez. The film was released by Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on June 26, 2015.
Max is a Belgian Malinois used to help U.S. Marines in Afghanistan. His handler is Kyle Wincott (Robbie Amell). Kyle keeps in touch with his family back home by video chat with his mom Pamela (Lauren Graham). His father Ray (Thomas Haden Church) also served in the Marine Corps. Kyle’s younger brother Justin (Josh Wiggins) doesn’t really care for what Kyle and their father have done for their country, and he is mostly moody while playing video games.
Kyle is questioned about weapons his squad has captured going missing. He knows that his friend Tyler Harne (Luke Kleintank) is among those involved with these shady dealings and warns Tyler he can’t cover for him. The two go into the battlefield with their squad, with Max on point. The dog alerts to the presence of a suicide bomber and is instructed to advance, at which point the explosives are detonated, injuring the animal. In the ensuing gun fight, Kyle is pinned down and calls for help from Tyler, who hesitates. Kyle is shot and killed.
Justin makes money pirating video games for other people, while Ray wants him to work at the family business. A pair of Marines visit the family home and inform them that Kyle was killed in action. His body is brought home for burial.
The other Marines notice that Max is only calm when he’s around Justin, apparently sensing that he is Kyle’s brother. The family adopts the dog, who would otherwise be destroyed due to his disturbed behavior. Justin initially wants little to do with Max but eventually takes to the dog.
Justin goes to hang out with his friend Chuy (Dejon LaQuake) in the woods, where they ride on a makeshift BMX track. There, Justin meets Chuy’s cousin Carmen (Mia Xitlali), who got kicked out of her house for getting a tattoo. Justin mentions Max, and Carmen offers to go to his house and show him some handling tricks. Little by little, Max’s behavior improves around other people.
Tyler visits the Wincotts one evening. Max growls and pulls his chain out of the ground to run toward Tyler, but Justin holds him back. In private, Ray asks Tyler what really happened to Kyle. Tyler implies that Max turned on Kyle and caused him to discharge his weapon on himself, leading to his death. Justin decides to investigate the matter, calling upon one of Kyle’s old friends, Sergeant Reyes (Jay Hernandez), for help. Against regulations, Reyes gives Justin a DVD of Kyle training Max that moves Justin to tears.
Justin is approached by Chuy’s other cousin Emilio (Joseph Julian Soria), a cartel member. He presses Justin over a video game rip that he wants. Afterwards, Justin and Max follow Emilio into the woods, where they secretly observe a meeting between cartel members and Tyler. Tyler is about to sell stolen U.S. weapons to them, but the cartel’s dogs sense Max and run after him. Max fights them off, severely wounding one of the dogs. Justin runs away and leaves his bike behind.
When he gets home, Justin finds Tyler next to his mom, along with the corrupt Deputy Stack (Owen Harn), who was seen at the weapons exchange and is the cartel’s dog handler. He has a bandage on his arm that he says is from a dog bite, and he claims he had to put down one of his dogs. They accuse Max of doing harm, and they want him put down as well.
Max is taken by animal control officers but escapes. Meanwhile, Ray, who has employed Tyler at his storage business, goes by the work site and finds Tyler making a business deal with the cartel. Before Ray can react, Emilio holds him at gunpoint.
Max makes it home and finds Justin. Justin, Chuy, and Carmen follow Max into the woods to find the villains and get Ray. As dawn breaks, the kids have found the villains, with Ray being kept in Stack’s truck. Justin rides up on his bike and pushes Emilio down a hill, where he breaks his leg. Ray incapacitates Stack. Tyler chases Justin and Ray on foot while Stack drives after them, only to crash into a tree after Ray shoots at the truck. The pick-up catches fire, killing Stack.
Tyler chases an injured Justin to a damaged bridge. When Max follows, Tyler aims his gun at him, but Max pounces and both of them plunge over the side of the bridge.
Emilio and the cartel members are arrested, Tyler perished, Kyle’s death is avenged, and Justin’s relationship with his dad is better. The family welcomes Max, who survived the fall, into their home. The boy and the dog visit Kyle’s grave. Chuy and Carmen, who is now dating Justin, join the Wincotts for dinner.
By Blake Shelton