REVIEW: War Dogs

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Review by Dustin Heller

War Dogs is the biographical war dramedy movie starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller based upon the book Arms and the Dudes by Guy Lawson.  The film was written and directed by Todd Phillips who is best known for his The Hangover Trilogy.  Along with Hill and Teller, the film also stars  Ana de ArmasJ. B. Blanc, and Bradley Cooper, who also served as co-producer on the film.  War Dogs is rated R for language throughout, drug use and some sexual references.

Efraim Diveroli (Hill) and David Packouz (Teller) are international arms dealers who make a living on bidding on small contracts from the U.S. government that the large arms corporations don’t even bother with.  Over time, they both become successful and rich even though David continues to lie about his profession to his girlfriend.

As the company continues to grow, the opportunity of a lifetime falls right into the boys’ laps and they decide to do whatever it takes to make it happen.  With this decision comes consequences and relationships will be tested and lives threatened.  The company might be in over its head and this friendship from childhood will be pushed to its limits.

War Dogs is the type of movie that makes you say “Eh, that was pretty good.  Better than I thought it was going to be.”  I know that’s not a ringing endorsement, but the problem is that there isn’t anything that makes it special.  It’s the type of movie that you forget about by the time you get home from the theater.

This all might sound pretty harsh, but it is actually a very entertaining movie and has some really great performances.  Who would have ever thought that Jonah Hill would transform himself into a pretty great actor? Miles Teller is a true natural talent.  I wouldn’t necessarily classify the film as a comedy because it has a very well developed dramatic story, but at the same time it is quite funny.

I couldn’t help but to be reminded of Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street throughout my screening of War Dogs, but it’s not nearly as insane or artistic Wolf.  The obvious connection is Jonah Hill, but the story, characters, and even filmmaking style all seemed familiar to Scorsese’s film.  You can see by the grade I have given War Dogs that I did enjoy it and would recommend seeing it, but I’m just not sure I’d suggest spending the money to see it on the big screen.

Grade:  B-

War Dogs opens in theaters on Friday, August 19

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