VOD film review: War Dogs
Chris Bryant | On 11, Jan 2017
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Miles Teller, Jonah Hill
Watch War Dogs online in the UK: Sky Cinema / NOW TV / iTunes / Amazon Instant Video / TalkTalk TV Store / Google Play
“War is an economy. Anybody who tells you otherwise is either in on it, or stupid.” Directed by Todd Phillips (Old School, The Hangover) and co-written by Jason Smiliovc (Lucky Number Slevin), War Dogs is the story of David Packouz, a 20-something slacker who just needs direction. That direction comes in the form of sewer-mouthed, drug-hounding, automatic-weapon-toting best friend, Efraim Diveroli, with whom he sets up an arms-dealing company and begins winning contracts from the US Government.
Adapted loosely from a book about the pair, War Dogs is very Wolf of Wall Street in its approach and style. Starting at the very bottom, and using smart talk, quick-thinking and fraudulent business practices, the pair work their way up the arms-dealing ladder. Going from giving massages to winning $300 million contracts, it’s no wonder that Packouz and Diveroli end up in some trouble here and there, on both sides of the law,
Fronted spectacularly by Miles Teller (Packouz) and Jonah Hill (Diveroli), the action-comedy is as much about their wild story as the system in which these reckless stoners were allowed to work. Packed with energy, smoothly narrated and delivering a couple of smart twists along the way, War Dogs does a fine job of telling the ridiculous and harrowing story in a manner that The Stoner Arms Dealers would approve of. Aggressively soundtracked by Cliff Martinez (Drive), the movie is styled perfectly for the punk-rock attitude with which the duo grew their small business.
Witty enough to stay clever, and unbelievably brash, Todd Phillips’ Dogs may not compare to the Wolf that preceded them, but they still manage to elicit the same responses: shock, horror, hilarity, both at the idea that these events really occurred, and at the larger-than-life characters that caused them. Travelling across the globe, the film paints a strong picture of the pair, with Teller’s Packouz in particular remaining relatable; even throughout the chronic drug use and irresponsible choices, he still makes sense as a character, and the good will the writers’ buy him in the opening scenes holds fast throughout the adventure. Bolstered by a tanned and mysterious cameo, War Dogs is a must for fans of Scorsese’s money-grabbing biopic, and for Teller and Hill fans too. It’s crass, and crazy, and totally devoid of morality, which only adds to the laughs and the disbelief.
War Dogs is available on Sky Cinema. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on NOW TV, as part of a £9.99 Sky Cinema Month Pass subscription – with a 14-day free trial.