review by Bobby Blakey
Director Todd Phillips has already established himself in the comedy genre with his Hangover trilogy and Due Date, but now he is stepping into a more dramatic approach with his new film War Dogs starring Miles Teller, Jonah Hill, Kevin Pollak, Ana de Armas, and Bradley Cooper. Could this be yet another hit from Phillips or will it run out of ammunition before it can takes its first shot?
War Dogs follows two friends in their early 20s living in Miami Beach during the Iraq War who 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. Once again Phillips has delivered a great movie. Despite it being a fairly serious topic and tone it still offers up some funny moments with the most constant being Jonah Hill’s laugh throughout. Both Hill and Teller are awesome here having great chemistry working together and both offering up some great performances. While most of this is well known to people if you watch documentaries and a lot of news, this film shines a light on various things a lot of people probably don’t know about including a website that is basically the Craigslist for arms dealers. It is amazing the stuff going on out in this world. There are so many great character moments and seeing it all unfold is intriguing and fun to watch. It’s insane that this story is real and while it isn’t known how much actually happened and how much was embellished for the film it still makes for a great movie.
There is a bit of disconnect from time to time as it seems like they were trying to make these characters more likeable which they are not. This would have worked even better had they allowed them to cut lose all together and entrusted the abilities of Teller and Hill to still bring the audiences into the story despite their likability. This doesn’t hurt the film at all it would have just made it all the better. There are numerous layers here between the struggles of friendship, relationships, drugs and business all intertwined into a world of guns and betrayal that we all know could never end well. It’s even more interesting to see how it all comes down in the end in the most criminally stereotypical way.
This film isn’t breaking any new ground and does a very formulaic approach, but filled with great performances and a story that you can’t help but latch onto it offers up a film worth watching. If you like Phillips, Teller, or Hill’s work on any level then you should give this film a shot.
In addition to the film this release also includes featurettes taking you further behind the film and the insane true story that it’s based on. Own War Dogs on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray and DVD on November 22 or Own It Now on Digital HD!