Soundtrack Review: Max

The bond between man and dog can be a very special one. It’s a deep bond that is based on mutual respect and in many cases, love. In the new family-friendly drama Max, we are shown how one dog survives and overcomes insurmountable odds and must adjust in an environment he knows nothing about. Acclaimed film composer Trevor Rabin (ArmageddonRemember the Titans) delivers a powerful score for a movie that really doesn’t need much more assistance. Mr. Rabin’s contribution to this picture is sensational and it only adds to its already profound impact. The score he has provided is rich and chockfull of memorable cues.

When U.S. Marine Kyle Wincott (Robbie Amell) is killed in action during a tour in Afghanistan, his trained service dog, Max, becomes too traumatized to continue serving his country. Max is then adopted by Wincott’s family but this is the last thing Kyle’s teenage brother Justin (Josh Wiggins) wants. Eventually, however, the two form a unique connection in trying to find out the truth regarding Kyle’s death. Max is a moving story of friendship and unlocking secrets that probably shouldn’t be tampered with. All in all, it’s a very interesting film. Thomas Haden Church and Lauren Graham co-star.

Rabin approached this film from the emotional standpoint and relationship of dog and man. There isn’t really a theme in the score so much as a general sense of calmness punctuated by riveting action. The opening track “Max’s First Cache” features some ominous mood-setting filler score. This is followed by a very Rabin-esque cue in “Max Rushes Coffin”. This particular cue is reminiscent of many of the composer’s best works, most notably Remember the Titans. We get a twangy little guitar cue in “Bike Toss” and the next track “Bike Ride” is nothing but pure unadulterated fun, brisk and very Rabin.

The next few tracks represent Rabin’s many notable styles. Track 7 “Tracking Emilio” brings out the quirky discovery music heard prominently in Rabin’s two National Treasure scores. This particular track also has unique instrumentation and a playful tone. We then get some militaristic triumph in “Keep Him in Line”. This is then followed by serviceable filler score in the next two tracks with track 11 “Max Escapes” being one of the strongest tracks, complete with tension and a chase/action cue that ends gloriously. Tracks 11 – 14 are more filler with track 15 “Round Two” featuring more action motifs and heroic moments. Things finish strongly in track 17 “Max’s Suite”, where we, the audience, are treated to a culmination of the many styles represented in the film’s score.

While the quality of films Trevor Rabin selects aren’t always of the utmost quality, the quality of his music always remains the same; excellent. Mr. Rabin is a student of Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions (formerly Media Ventures) and he has demonstrated a competence in the industry not many so consistently achieve. He has demonstrated this in all of his scores and has shown talent in many film genres. Max is yet another example of the composer’s genius and limitless talent.

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