Going to the Movies with Jeff & Drew: “War Dogs”
The war in Iraq rages on. Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) offers financially struggling childhood friend David Packouz (Miles Teller) a chance to make big bucks by becoming an international arms dealer. Based on the book Arms and the Dudes, the movie tells how they exploit a government initiative that allows businesses to bid on U.S. military contracts. After landing a $300 million deal to supply Afghan forces, they soon find themselves in over their heads.
“War Dogs lives up to the craziness it promises. It does a really good job at explaining how the government procures weapons and how the system can be manipulated, much like The Big Short did for the housing market. But it falls flat when it tries to be serious. Efraim and David seem to be built for comedy, and switching to drama makes the audience unfazed by the stakes.” —Drew
“With the onslaught of ‘based on true story’ films slated to come out in the next few years, War Dogs does things right. While I am sure there were many liberties taken with the nuances of the true events, the movie tackles a compelling story about a big problem in the U.S. government. How two young guys can make millions from the U.S. government by selling Soviet weapons back to the government is just mind boggling and makes for a very entertaining movie.” —Jeff
“Miles Teller may be the center of the story, but the reason to see War Dogs is Jonah Hill. Even though Efraim is a scumbag, he’s the most captivating character in the movie. Their performances in War Dogs proves Jonah and Miles could be the next big on-screen duo.” —Drew
“Jonah Hill and Miles Teller bring their talent to create two characters that are a delight to watch. They are flawed, morally questionable, and sometimes a bit unbalanced, which all add to the intrigue they bring to the screen. You become invested in what they are doing because of the high stakes game they are playing with reckless disregard.” —Jeff
“The story is about two crappy people that never own up to horrible actions. It would be easy to describe War Dogs as director Todd Phillips’ gangster movie. With Tellers’ character narrating the story, it has a lot of parallels to movies like Wolf of Wall Street and Goodfellas. Hill’s character also obsesses with the movie Scarface. His office has the same mural as Scarface, he gives David a gold grenade that says “The World is Yours” and a Colt AR-15 with grenade launcher is framed in the office.” —Drew
“The movie brings together a very accomplished team, which makes for a technically sound movie. Unfortunately, it fails to make any strides to be anything more than that. It is, simply put, a good movie. Among the plethora of ‘based on true events’ movies, it will not stand out for being either good or bad and will be lost in the genre. It’s still worth seeing and has a large potential audience, but it just won’t be winning any awards.” —Jeff
War Dogs is an entertaining tale of how ambiguous the operations of the U.S. military-industrial complex can be. No matter where you stand on the military, war or guns, you can still enjoy what this movie has to offer.
Stars: Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Ana de Armas, J. B. Blanc, Bradley Cooper
Score: 3 out of 5