Lords of War – A “War Dogs” Review

Can you be pro-war and pro-money at the same time?



Funny enough, if you have the utmost respect for the military and value each soldier's sacrifice, you should be both! (It’d be ironic to see someone veer into communist beliefs while clad in soldier apparel).

Since, you know, America is the world’s capital of capitalism, you'll notice that in the beginning of War Dogs, soldier clothing and munition are dotted with dollar amounts as David Packouz (played by Miles Teller) narrates “war is an economy”.

That line is then followed by Packouz's claim that anyone who isn’t aware of that is either in on it, or an idiot. Todd Philips, director of War Dogs, The Hangover trilogy and Old School, doesn’t seem to be taking a stance against the war, but he certainly isn’t taking one for it either. Philips along with along with co-writers Stephen Chin and Jason Smilovic, just seemed to be riveted by this story about these two guys who got into the sketchy, dense and lucrative world of arms dealing. 

The writers took some liberties with the story like when the two protagonists are dangerously driving through the Triangle of Death to deliver on an arms deal, but that’s to be expected in a Hollywood script.

It was interesting to find out that the U.S. not accept ammunition from China due to government policy, – even though our "heroes" attempted to mask said ammunition by pretending they’re legit and from Eastern Europe. It was also interesting to see an American military base in the Middle East hold more currency than most banks, which shows how money plays a pivotal part in all of this.

Miles Teller brings sympathy to David Packouz, a Florida massage therapist looking to make extra cash with a baby on the way. Packouz is finally able to generate some more money by working for his former buddy Efraim Diveroli (played with great dickish confidence by Jonah Hill). Packouz helps turn Diveroli’s AEY company from a one room dump into a seemingly legit, full-staffed business. Packouz and Diveroli made a great tandem, but their undoing was solidified by money and ego; Packouz wanting to get paid accordingly, and Diveroli’s ego getting in the way.

Diveroli’s insecurities are at the forefront as we witness his tangible pain when he’s not invited over to dinner at Packouz’s place to meet and mingle with David’s wife and their friends. He also gets upset when a prospective new employee exposes his ignorance since Diveroli didn’t know IBM stood for something. Efraim reacts to this humiliation by kicking out the candidate.

Teller delivers big, but Hill is the star of this movie. He just has a knack for playing scumbags; similar to his role as the crack-smoking, cousin-fucking Donnie Azoff in The Wolf of Wall Street. He solidifies his sliminess with one of the more cringe-and-cackle-inducing laughs I can remember seeing in a movie in the last couple of years. 

War Dogs is funny, entertaining, and one of the more pleasant surprises of 2016. It takes a needed and effective downturn in the third act with Efraim brandishing a Tony Montana poster everywhere he works, you know the downfall was inevitable.

I don’t believe it’ll be a benchmark for expository narratives, but it gets the job done. I personally am a fan of the “war is money” route the movie ventures on as the film ends with two characters in a lavish hotel room: one of them asking the other reasonable yet uncomfortable questions and the other extending a briefcase filled with money, firmly saying, "No more questions.”

It’s basically what’s expected of all parties involved in this business: take the money and scram.

written by The W


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