War Dogs

"Good"

War Dogs Review


Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed a massive defence contract with the American government to sell arms for the War on Terror. The story is told with a heavy dose of macho swagger by The Hangover's Todd Phillips, which makes it entertaining even as it dodges the heavier themes the plot is raising. It's also set in a world where smugness is an asset and women are irrelevant.

It begins in 2005 Miami, where David (Miles Teller) is working as a masseur and living happily with his girlfriend Iz (Ana de Armas). Then he runs into his old school friend Efraim (Jonah Hill), who convinces him that there's money to be made selling weapons to the US military. Over the next few years, the business expands dramatically, bringing in a fortune as David and Efraim travel into Iraq to see their deals through. Then they land a massive new contract that involves working with a rather dodgy supplier (Bradley Cooper) and processing the arms in Albania. But as they start bending the law to maximise their profits, things start to fall apart.

Phillips tells this with a quick step and a twinkle in his eye, zipping through the events with masculine energy, filling scenes with black humour as the business gets murkier. Hill and Teller make a terrific team, using their impeccable comic timing to make every scene zing. They are also excellent at bringing out the contrasts between David and Efraim: David tries to do things right, Efraim has no moral compass. And their differing approaches to cross-cultural situations are telling as well. Many of their conflicts seem scripted for movie purposes, but they're so well-played that we don't mind too much. By comparison, the supporting cast kind of fades into the background. Cooper grabs attention in a seriously oddball role, while de Armas is completely sidelined as the only person with a conscience.

And this is the main problem with the movie. Phillips completely ignores all of the issues and repercussions in the story. That these men are robbing from American taxpayers is basically irrelevant, as if all of us would, given the chance. And that the weapons they sell are killing thousands of largely innocent people is merely a quiet hum in the film's background. In other words, Phillips is trying to make a movie as punchy as The Big Short or The Wolf of Wall Street, but he only has the depth of Michael Bay's equally irresponsible but entertaining Pain and Gain.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for War Dogs:



War Dogs

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

In Theaters: Friday 26th August 2016

Production compaines: The Mark Gordon Company, Green Hat Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as David Packouz, as Efraim Diveroli, Ana de Armas as Iz, as Army Bureaucrat, Brenda Koo as Vanessa, Jeff Pierre as Soldier, as Marlboro, J. B. Blanc as Bashkim, as Supplier #1, Ashley Spillers as Rosens Wife, Roman Mitichyan as Iraqi Insurgent, Mehdi Merali as Iraqi Soldier #1, Aaron Lustig as Army Bureaucrat #1, Ashli Haynes as Receptionist, Trevor Keveloh as Arms Dealer, Max Daniels as Iraqi Insurgent, as Henry Girard

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