Based on the true life story of a young Marine corporal whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq. When she is assigned to clean up the K9 unit after a disciplinary hearing, Leavey identifies with a particularly aggressive dog, Rex, and is given the chance to train him. Over the course of their service, Megan and Rex completed more than 100 missions until an IED explosion injures them, putting their fate in jeopardy. Written by
The problem with this good movie is deciding what movie genre it might fit into. Is this a war movie? An animal movie? A family drama? In some ways this movie is really just a typical, by the expected numbers movie but based on true events. Yet at the same time, it also offers up a validation of true events that present a real life emotional drama, of coming of age, of loyalty and sacrifice, and the benefits as well as the terrible costs of military service. There doesn't seem to be any over the top military stereotypes and in fact there seems to be some genuine elements of camaraderie, more so than in many war movies. The military action when it occurs is very effective, a sort of Golden Globe winner Saving Private Ryan (1998) in miniature. Yet for those men who are salivating for a military action movie, a good number will be disappointed. This movie has a strong military element to it, but the focus is more on the individual human impact of a tour in a war zone, not an epic big screen battle royal. Even the relatively brief boot camp sequence, initially, seemed to be way too short until the movie reveals itself to be more about an unfolding drama between coming of age and the bond that occurs between a young woman who is apparently socially underdeveloped and a German Shepard.
There is more in common with this movie with the more visceral Jarhead (2005) than with the explosive energy of We Were Soldiers (2002). This movie even has more in common with the coming of age animal movie Fly Away Home (1996) than military classic Black Hawk Down (2001) or Whale Rider (2002) over Platoon (1986). As apparently this movie has garnered a significantly higher rating among women than men, this is one of those gender focused movies that targets the relational drama over the military action and it might be more properly critically reviewed as such. In doing so, this movie directed by a female director based on a female lead character and a dog offers up a strong decent, credible, meaningfully, solid movie.
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