Movie Review: War Dogs


War Dogs is based upon a true story (actually, a Rolling Stones article about a true story) and it was a story I wasn't aware of, which made the film interesting to see.

David Packouz (Miles Teller) is tired of barely getting by in life. He works as a massage therapist ($75/hour doesn't seem that bad ... just saying ...) and lives with his girlfriend, Iz (Ana de Armas), who has just found out she's pregnant. When his childhood best friend, Efraim (Jonah Hill), moves home to Miami, and invites David to join him as a business partner, David doesn't hesitate to say yes. Yet before he knows it, David finds himself involved in shady business deals and having to travel to Iraq and Jordan to make sure said deals are completed.

Teller and Hill were both great in this movie. Efraim, Hill's character, is introduced early on, and we can tell he's a bit crazy - there's a scene where he tries to buy drugs, and the dealer tries to stiff him, and he pulls out a rifle from the back of his car and fires it into the street. The movie also references Scarface often, and Hill's character was almost trying to emulate Tony Montana from that movie; he tries to be a gangster, and he also does a lot of drugs. Teller's character is more innocent in the beginning, but after he gets wrapped up in Hill's character's world, things quickly change.

Yes, see this movie. It was a little slow at times but not terribly so, and we're made aware from the very beginning that this is definitely not a PG-rated film. Keep an eye out for a cameo from the real David Packouz, too - I was looking at the IMDb listing for War Dogs and saw that he's a singer in a short scene at a nursing home. The real story is also an interesting read, and the movie appears to be loosely based on it (Hill and Teller, although supposedly contemporaries, are in their 20s in the movie, and probably were closer to their late teens/early 20s when all of these events happened - in real life, Hill is 32 this year and Teller is 29). I'd recommend this movie for anyone who likes war stories or stories about harebrained schemes, for the most part, and it was a fun film to watch, although it's more of a drama than a comedy like its trailer is making it out to be.

War Dogs is in theaters today, August 19th, and is rated R with a runtime of 114 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

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