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

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.