Just in time for Independence Day is “Max,” a movie that combines, friends, family, patriotism and a dog.

Max is a bomb dog, highly trained from puppyhood by his handler and fellow soldier, Kyle Wincott (Robbie Amell). He is deployed to Afghanistan with his childhood best friend Tyler Harney (Luke Kleintank).

Their squad is looking for weapons caches and Max is their bomb dog. When the dog halts, Kyle wants to wait, but Tyler pushes his friend to keep moving. When a big explosion rocks the area, smoke hides the dog and Kyle goes after him. It’s the last we see of Kyle.

The experience has caused Max, a Belgian Malinois , to suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He shies away from sudden loud noises and is mourning the lost of his partner. At Kyle’s funeral, Max runs up to the flag-draped coffin and sniffs, then lies down in front of it.

Kyle’s family, retired Marine Ray Wincott (Thomas Hayden Church), Pamela Wincott (Lauren Graham) and brother Josh Wincott (Justin Wiggins) are told Max will be put down if they don’t take him. Josh gets a dog. At first, everyone is nervous and edgy.

Josh makes money by burning copies of popular video games and selling them to a shady brother of his friend Chuy (Dijon LeQuake).
This time Chuy has his cousin Carman (Mia Xitali) with him. Josh is pretty much smitten by the dark-haired beauty. She hears about the troubled dog and offers her help.

With Carmen’s help, Josh first realizes how highly trained his new dog is and a friendship is born both with the dog and with Carmen.
When Tyler returns from Afghanistan early, Max reacts. Ray thinks the fault is with the dog.

Josh starts digging and discovers Max is right. Tyler is not nearly the good guy Ray and Pamela thinks he is. “Max” is an entertaining movie. The plot is laid out so even young children can keep up, but that makes it easier to cheer for the good guys.

Max is part detective, part lonely dog looking for a new best friend. Pamela is the referee between her hardass husband and troubled son. Chuy and Carmen trade one-liners with the ease of family and provide a needed backup for Max and Josh.

There is plenty of action in “Max” – father/son fights, threatening behavior of all kinds, intense scenes of dogs fighting and some great trick bike shots all coming together into a story perfect for popcorn and fireworks.