Dir. Todd Philips
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“I’m not a bad man. But there are times I need to think ‘what would a bad man do?’”
War – huh, what is it good for?
Well for two 20 something pals David Packouz (Miles ‘Fantastic 4’ Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Jonah ’21 Jump Street’ Hill) war is a chance to get seriously rich. Yes these two chancers bagged a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America's allies in Afghanistan – despite neither of them actually having experience in international arms dealing…
The fact that this actually happened is staggering – it was called a ‘case study of everything that is wrong with the US Government’s arms procurement process’ and it proves fuel for a fun cinematic recap of just how this might have occurred.
Packouz serves as voiceover to this madness – he’s an all American young chap with a lovely girlfriend Iz (Ana ‘Knock Knock’ de Armas). When Diveroli his slightly dodgy high school friend returns to town with tales of crazy money to be made from finding and servicing small military contracts, he jumps straight in. For a time it’s all fun, games and new Porsches as the two guys manage to pull off some results – including a hair raising drive to Baghdad. But before long the stakes rise considerably when these chancer ‘war dogs’ find a huge million-dollar opportunity which leads them to make a deal with shady black market gun runner Henry Girard (Bradley ‘Joy’ Cooper).
The question at the heart of War Dogs is ‘how far would you go in pursuit of the American Dream of easy wealth?’ There are lots of influences and references from films including Wolf of Wall Street, Scarface and Lord of War but director Todd ‘The Hangover’ Philips manages to craft an effective greed-em-up that sucks you in and makes you care about the fate of the main characters.
"Dog eat dog bro"
Both the two leads are on good form – Teller is likeable innocent, in way over his head and Hill is out of control as the greed driven mogul who’s not afraid to break the law or trample on others to get what he wants. As the money rolls in, the criminality ramps up and so does the potential consequences. It seems there’s a reason that warmongering isn’t usually a career for earnest upright young men and suddenly it starts to look like not everyone is going to be alive to see the end credits.
War racketeering shouldn’t be this fun but War Dogs really delivers.
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(3.5 - The first casualty of war certainly isn't greed)...
Awesomeness ööö – You'll feel the feels
Laughs ööö – Darkly comic with Hill's laugh alone!
Horror öö – Sweary and tense but limited violent horror
Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Trust no-one