War Dogs Review
3.5 / 5
IMDb Rating: 7.3
Starring: Miles Teller, Jonah Hill, Bradley Cooper and Ana de Armas.
Plot Summary: ‘Two friends in their early 20s (Hill and Teller) living in Miami Beach during the Iraq War exploit a little-known government initiative that allows small businesses to bid on U.S. Military contracts. Starting small, they begin raking in big money and are living the high life. But the pair gets in over their heads when they land a 300 million dollar deal to arm the Afghan Military – a deal that puts them in business with some very shady people, not the least of which turns out to be the U.S. Government. Based on true events.’ (Warner Bros)
Although Miles Teller’s character is given the lead role in the film, the stand out character is the swaggering, sweary and self-centred Efraim Diveroli, played impressively by Jonah Hill. Teller and Hill play a real-life pair of twenty-something school-friends from Miami who made millions by selling dodgy supplies to the US military. Diveroli/Hill’s hyena-esque laugh presents a mixture of hilarity and chilling mania, depending on whatever the situation is. Although there is obvious chemistry between Hill and Teller, the friendship between their characters didn’t seem to be close enough or meaningful enough (probably factually correct) to create a worthy impact during the multiple bust-ups between the pair. There didn’t seem to be something worthy enough for an audience to be invested in when the inevitable fall outs happen.
The stand-out plot-line is the fiasco of a Beretta deal with the US military, who have an embargo with Italy, which is where Packouz (Teller) and Diveroli come in. When the deal hits a snag, the pair fly out to the Middle East and they have to transport the goods to Baghdad themselves. This pulse-racing mission is perfectly balanced with humour as they drive through dangerous territory, being pursued by enemies of America.
Todd Phillips, the master of the men behaving badly films (The Hangover, 21 and Over, Old School), had a chance to bring a fascinating story to a wider audience which potentially could have elevated him out of the gross-out mass-market comedy, and into a world where he would receive greater acclaim and more sophisticated work, however, he missed the mark. The film comes across as an inferior Wolf of Wall Street, and when compared to that film, War Dogs will always be seen as poor imitation of a real to life story brought to the big screen.