MOVIE REVIEW: War Dogs

Based on the true story of two twenty somethings who sold arms to the Pentagon. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller star as unlikely arms dealers who find themselves in over their heads as they create a multi million dollar deal that leads to their downfall.

First of all the reason behind the half mark. I liked the film, it did everything I thought it would, and left thinking that this would be a fine night of entertainment in the cinema. I wouldn’t go out and buy the BluRay but if someone gave it to me I wouldn’t be offended. Two and a half just puts it fairly under the average mark. It’s a middle of the road type film and there are plenty of reasons for that.

The story is simple enough. Slightly corrupt arms dealer played by Hill lures his childhood friend into a company that supplies the small crumbs to the US military. The friend is Miles Teller whose character is basically lost in life, has a hot Girlfriend, but no clear direction. They plod along in a buddy comedy sort of way until a big deal they land with the help of a shady arms dealer played by Bradley Cooper. At that point everything goes sour, like you know it’s going to, and you can write the rest of the movie without actually watching it. If you were to describe this film using two films you’d call it a weak Wolf of Wall Street meets any Chris Farley and David Spade film. Which is no comment on the regain of weight that Hill has managed between projects, as a hefty lad myself I can’t say anything, his life. Hill gives a performance that you can believe in as the arms dealer who knows how to screw people, and Teller is fine as the eager to please friend. I have to say that since Whiplash I’m scratching my head as to Teller’s choices.

The way the film itself is shot feels like Wolf of Wall Street, but it doesn’t come close to the feeling of that film. The comedy is understated and probably should be. While the reality of the situation will more than likely make you laugh more than any of the jokes.

I don’t think I’d pay in to see this film, as I’ve said it’s not offensive, it’s just that it’s predictable and feels too long to have that punch that it should have had. The soundtrack is cool, and settings around the world offer something different to watch through the whole film. With Hill though I wanted something deeper than his character in Superbad but it’s about on par with that. I wanted him to be his character from Moneyball but evil. Bradley Cooper’s arms dealer character is slightly aloof and could have been more for the film. He’s there just long enough to be menacing but not enough to have the bigger impact on the story that I’m sure the real character would have had.

In the end you get a middle of the road film that you’ll more than likely forget a few weeks after watching and from time to time when it pops up on TV you’ll watch it and then forget about it again. The same way I look at relatives. I don’t want to be around them but when I need a new kidney I’ll have a chat with them. If you have seen everything else on at your local multiplex then give it a go, but I’d say just wait until it comes on TV or that new Netflix thing. I guess I’m trying to say don’t pay good cash to go see it, if you find a 20 on the side of the road don’t even spend that. With that cast middle of the road is not good enough.

Director: Todd Phillips
Writers: Stephen Chin, Todd Phillips, Jason Smilovic, Guy Lawson
Stars: Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Steve Lantz

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