War Dogs – Interesting, but not what I expected

Going into War Dogs, after seeing all the trailers, I thought it was a comedy. After all, it’s directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and Bradley Cooper has an executive producer credit. I thought I was going to see something similar to The Hangover, but War Dogs reminded me a lot more of Mark Wahlberg and The Rock’s 2013 movie Pain and Gain. Despite being a bit of a bait and switch I still enjoyed the film.

Rating: I’d give War Dogs 3 out of 5 stars.

***SPOILERS***

Story: As I said above, I though this was a comedy, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t some good comedic moments.I particularly like a scene where Jonah Hill was trying to buy weed. He hands over the money to the stereotypical gangsters, who proceed to blow him off and flash a pistol at him. He’s all “Ok, cool”, walks back to his car, pulls out a machine gun, and then fires it off into the air. “Don’t worry i have a class 3 firearms license” he says when he gets back into the car, and then goes on to find more weed.

The story centers around two twenty-something kids who broker a 300 million dollar deal with the DOD. Obviously, laws are broken and corners are cut and they go down in the end. It shows how lax the American government was during a portion of our history. Hill’s has a great line about “participation trophies” that is the perfect analogy. In the end it is greed that brings them down…go figure.

It can all be boiled down too: The government wanted the ammo, they needed the ammo, and as long as they didn’t find anything illegal on the surface then they were willing to turn a blind eye.

What cracks me up, which isn’t funny at all, is that they could have gotten away with it if they’d just paid the guy they had packaging the ammo; who was doing it on the cheap to start. That, and after all the fraud that was perpetrated one guy got four years in prison and the other seven months house arrest.

On a technical side the plot flowed very well. It was a very clean presentation.

Acting: Jonah Hill’s performance added most of the comedy to the film. He had a laugh for the character that made whatever just happened in the scene funny. Dan Bilzerian shows up in a scene and punches him in the face; so that was nice. Overall, its not Moneyball but it was still a solid performance.

Miles Teller plays the more realistic and rational best friend. I feel that as an actor he’s on the rise; despite the horrendous reception to the Fantastic Four reboot, which I don’t think was that terrible. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t great, but a lot of people hated it. Another solid performance by Teller.

Bradley Cooper wasn’t really in the movie that much. Really it was just two main scenes. He’s the mysterious, veteran force in the background. Who really ends up showing up the two rookies at the end. He shows a heartless side in one scene, and then shares a heartfelt moment at the end where you see his humanity. I would have liked to see him more, but he’s a busy man and Hill and Teller carry the film nicely.

Lastly, I’ve got to give a honorable mention to Ana de Armas, who plays Iz; Teller’s girlfriend. First, she’s absolutely gorgeous, and second she plays the girlfriend who has to fight for her boyfriends attention very well, but ultimately forgives him quickly after all his lies and deception.

In conclusion, I liked it 🙂

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