War Dogs Review

Director: Todd Phillips

Starring: Miles Teller, Jonah Hill, Ana de Armas, Kevin Pollak, Bradley Cooper

The Overview 

Based on the true story of two young men, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, who won a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan. (Source: IMDb

The Good 

The best thing I can say about this film is that it’s watchable, and this is largely due to the story, which is actually pretty compelling. 

It might be more familiar to some, however I knew nothing about the true story on which War Dogs was based, prior to seeing it. I liked the way the story was told in that we saw something happen at the beginning and then went back to see how we got to that moment. The use of titles as almost chapter headings was interesting as well; it kept me second guessing to wonder how the next part of the story would play out to lead to the quote used for each title. With Teller’s narration, and this storytelling technique, it does feel a little bit like a Wolf of Wall Street-lite, but hey that’s not necessarily a bad film to take some tips from! 
I was a big fan of Miles Teller in Whiplash, but less so since, and whilst this performance never reaches those heights, it isn’t the sort of role which demands that, so I thought he did a pretty good job. I’m not a huge lover of Jonah Hill either, and his laugh in this really grated, but I thought he was OK in his role as well. 

The Bad

It’s difficult to be really enthusiastic about anything to do with this film, which might explain why the good points I’ve just mentioned seem a bit lacklustre. 

It’s because there is really nothing that stands out about this film. Sure, it’s watchable enough, but the idea had so much potential to be better than what the end result was. 

There’s a mildly entertaining middle portion involving a road trip across Iraq but other than that it seems devoid of humour, unless you just really love the F word and drug references. 

It also takes a really long time to get going, by which point, despite its best intentions, it has already left the audience behind. 

This film neither good nor offensively bad. It sits in the middle as a “meh” film. You won’t be angrily demanding back the time you spent watching it, but you might wonder whether that time could’ve been better spent! 

The Verdict 

I saw this movie so you don’t have to. War Dogs is a film which never feels fully realised in all the different types of films it is trying so desperately hard to be. At times a stoner comedy, others a war drama, and occasionally a crime thriller. But this pick & mix approach never fully works and results in a film which only succeeds in coming across as tonally confused, and well, a bit of a mess really! Maybe worth a watch when it comes onto Netflix, but otherwise I’d skip it!

Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a totally misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below! 

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