Rating: PG, for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements.
Don’t let the sweet, furry face in the posters fool you. This is a ridiculously violent PG-rated movie. The film from director and co-writer Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans) follows the journey of Max, a Marine search dog who returns from Afghanistan suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. It has some heartwarming scenes as the Belgian Malinois bonds with Justin (Josh Wiggins), the younger brother of his former handler (Robbie Amell), who was killed in the line of duty. But it also has plenty of heavy-handed hanky moments, early and often. And then it gets super violent as Justin, his friends and Max try to expose a weapons-smuggling ring in their small Texas town. The bad guys kidnap Justin’s dad (Thomas Haden Church) and a crazy amount of gunfire ensues. They also chase after Justin and his friends, repeatedly putting them in peril. Meanwhile, their guard dogs — a couple of snarling, drooling Rottweilers — engage in some frightening fights with Max. My 5 ½-year-old son turned to me at one point and said: “This movie is too violent.” And in retrospect, he was too young to see it. But it’s probably OK for kids around 9 or 10 and older.