War Dogs

The post-9/11 world changed how America conducted business and shaped our foreign relations. It also led to changes in how war was conducted and maintained. In War Dogs, we witness how companies of varying size were able to cash in on America’s need to supply their military and those of their allies as they continued their fight against terrorism and conducted nation-building. War Dogs follows the ill-fated careers of Efraim (Jonah Hill) and David (Miles Teller) as they aspire to cash in on the arms dealing frenzy that is unleashed by the US government. The film, based on actual events, gives its audience a glimpse into the problematic and perilous world of arms dealing. Efraim and David are confronted with international gangsters, bureaucratic “red tape,” and push their friendship to the limit as they pursue the goal of becoming wealthy by fulfilling government contracts.

War Dogs allows its viewers to have a greater understanding of how the government works and how businesses are competing with each other, to not only create a positive business relationship with “Uncle Sam,” but to become major players in an industry filled with companies and individuals who must suspend, amend, or terminate their moral code in order to become “merchants of death.” The film itself does a suitable job in telling the story of how these men form their own company from the ground up only to have it dismantled by mistrust, greed, and jealousy. War Dogs has its moments where you as a viewer envy the ability of these men to succeed in an industry that many would thumb their noses at out of disagreement with the war or adherence to their principles. We quickly see how money becomes a motivator for these friends as they pursue the opportunity to take on larger and more complex contracts in order to compete with the likes of Halliburton.




Second Review by Joshua Aja


War Dogs is a Todd Phillips Directed film, based on the true story of a down on his luck David Packouz (Miles Teller) who is working a dead end job as a massage therapist until he has a chance encounter with childhood friend Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) at a funeral. Efraim tells him all about his newly started business of selling war time supplies to the US Army. After Packouz finds out his girlfriend is pregnant Efraim invites him to join him in this lucrative buy unseemly business. They start off small selling things that the larger companies let slip through the cracks. But after a hair raising gun run through the ‘Triangle of Death’ in Iraq they are propelled to bigger scores, which leads them to take more chances, cut corners, and riding the line of legality.

This film is a mixture of buddy comedy and drama. It does not have the sustained laughs and over the top antics of past Phillips projects (The Hangover Trilogy, Old School, etc.) but does have some moments. Like when Packouz and Diveroli decide it would be a good idea to get high right before negotiating a three-hundred-million-dollar Pentagon contract. Teller does and adequate job of riding the line of family man and gun runner. The issue for me was that it did not do a good enough job of mixing the dramatic and comedic performances in a consistent basis throughout the film. As we are being introduced to Diveroli we find out he has a distinct and unique laugh that made me laugh at its awkwardness. But the laugh then gets tiresome as it overused in the film. It seemed like moments like these were dropped into the middle of heavier portions of the story to in attempt to keep it light, but for me missed the mark. Bradly Cooper’s brief scenes as gun runner Henry Girard are a bright spot.

There are some memorable moments that’s why I give this 3 out of 5.