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Megan Leavey | 2017 | PG-13 | - 3.5.5

Based on a true story: A socially awkward USMC corporal (Kate Mara) trains a military combat dog that is too aggressive for anyone else to handle. She and the dog succeed in over 100 missions in Iraq, but when an IED explodes, their injuries and a separation put them both in jeopardy. Also with Bradley Whitford, Ramon Rodriguez, Tom Felton, Common, Edie Falco and Will Patton. Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite. [1:56]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - A man and a woman kiss passionately, lie on a bed clothed, and kiss again. A man and a woman lie under covers that expose his bare chest, shoulders, and one bare thigh; she gets out of bed angrily and we see her wearing a T-shirt and underwear that expose thighs (sex is implied).
 A woman wears a micro-miniskirt. A platoon of women army recruits wears sports bras and long pajama bottoms at night, revealing bare abdomens. A woman wears a tight sports bra that reveals cleavage and her abdomen. A woman's sports bra is outlined under her T-shirt, with nipple outlines visible. We see the upper back of a woman in a shower. A man is seen shirtless. Soldiers force men and boys in a village to raise their shirts to look for bombs strapped to them. A man sprays shaving cream down the legs of two sleeping soldiers who are shirtless.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - A woman and a dog walk in a desert setting and a land mine explodes with billowing smoke, dirt clouds, and debris, throwing the woman and dog into the air to land several yards away; they get up and the woman has red scrapes all over her face, shaking her head and she is taken to a hospital where we hear that she has two ruptured ear drums and hearing loss.
 Several male soldiers and a woman Marine search a school and other buildings in a desert, kicking open a locked door and pointing rifles when they see insurgents across the road, aiming mortars at the group and we hear and see a lot of automatic rifle fire and half a dozen mortars firing at the US soldiers with clouds of smoke and debris; a dog pulls a man out of harm's way and another man falls (he's slightly injured, but not bleeding), three men fall down a staircase toward the camera as a mortar explodes at the top blowing smoke and dirt toward them, soldiers run through rifle fire to their jeeps and one falls when an IED explodes but they escape. We hear several mortars fired off camera at a USMC camp in Iraq and a soldier and a dog jump at the sounds.
 A small car drives toward US jeeps in a desert where the driver stops and exits as soldiers yell, point guns at him and force him to the ground.
 A dog barks and bites a man's hand as we hear a loud crunch; we later see the man with a cast and we hear that the bite broke the man's hand in six places. A dog snarls and snaps at people several times. A dog grabs a woman by the seat of her pants and she yells in fear as men laugh at her. A dog grabs a soldier by the seat of the pants and pulls him out of the line of fire of a mortar. A woman wears a large padded suit as a German shepherd grabs the sleeve and a man wears the suit for the same drill in a later scene.
 A soldier and a bomb-sniffing dog walk ahead of jeeps to look for bombs; the dog finds a few landmines and a large bomb taped to the side of a bridge railing, they search a rug shop and find a large hole in a wall containing weapons and explosives and soldiers arrest the shop owner.
 A woman runs into her yard at night, yelling about a car alarm. A woman sees a dog locked in a parked car, breaks the window with a baseball bat and when the owner arrives, they yell and curse at each other. A woman slams files off a cabinet top to the floor in an office, shouts on a phone twice and cries several times. A woman shouts and curses her adult daughter over a telephone and shouts and curses her daughter twice face-to-face, belittling her for being a medal-earning soldier.
 A dog with a cast on one foreleg is brought back to its base alone, because we hear his handler was killed by a suicide bomber; we see a Marine place the man's dog tags over a helmet balanced on a rifle standing in military shoes and Marines salute the dog. We hear that a dog is sick and when a veterinarian pokes the dog hard in an injured leg and he yelps and barks, and she says he needs to be put down. We see two limping dogs, one with a front leg bandaged from ankle to the shoulder and the other with a cast from the middle of the leg, down, and covering the paw. A dog in a group being paraded across a field has a missing front leg from war injuries.
 A man is rude and demeaning to a new recruit, pounding his fist on his desk and shouting. Two male and two female army sergeants yell and point in the faces of new soldiers. Women recruits in boot camp run an obstacle course in mud, sand, and some water. A line of women recruits fire several rifle shots in target practice. A depressed woman loses several jobs and joins the USMC where she is assigned to clean out dog cages. A woman tells a man what a dog did to another man and the man moves away from the dog; the woman attempts to train the dog, even though she looks afraid. A man says a dog is a Marine, not a dog.
 We hear that Iraqi insurgents have a bounty on the heads of all dog handlers. A woman says that she has pain in her head and back and she cries because she is separated from a dog and she battles traumatic brain injury and PTSD. A woman dog handler retires from the USMC with an injury, but her dog is redeployed; a woman writes Congress to adopt a dog she served with because the military plans to euthanize it. A dog was deployed three times into over 100 missions; he survived many firefights, IED explosions, and mortar attacks during Operation Iraqi Freedom and in Afghanistan.
 We see dung covering the floor of a kennel as a woman sprays it with a hose and dung splashes onto her face, she grimaces, yelps "Ewww," and wipes it off with her hand. Three women walk along a dark street and one of them bends over and vomits all over the sidewalk (we see the goo), as another woman breaks a street lamp with a rock, then walks behind a bush and makes a motion of pulling down her underwear (we cannot see flesh or undergarments); an MP's flashlight catches her as she squats (she's covered by shrubbery) and we hear urine (she is then arrested).


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LANGUAGE 5 - At least 1 F-word, 5 sexual references, 22 scatological terms, 5 anatomical terms, 12 mild obscenities, name-calling (crazy, screw-ups, laggers, entitled brat, punks, boot), exclamations (shut-up), 3 religious profanities (GD), 7 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Oh God, God Forbid, God Bless His Soul, Jesus, Jesus Christ).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man at a bar sips a glass of beer and holds a shot of whiskey, a woman has an untouched glass of wine at a table, a women drinks double shots at a bar, a few men sip from short glasses of whiskey, three women slurring their words and staggering leave a bar, men play beer pong at an Army camp (no one is shown drinking), a man drinks a can of energy drink and another man drinks form a beer can, a woman lies in bed with an empty liquor bottle on her bedside table, a man asks a group of soldiers if there were any DUIs the night before (they answer no), and we hear that a high school boy died in an auto accident after drinking alcohol. A man smokes a cigarette in an army camp, and a woman holds a lit cigarette in a café.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - War in Iraq, women in combat, heroes, post-traumatic stress disorder, combat dogs, animal rights, animal companions, danger, death, serious injury, determination, courage, hard work, friendship, the nature of love, respect.

MESSAGE - The bond between a military handler and a dog can save thousands of lives.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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