September 12, 2016 War Dogs (Movie Review)
Writer/Director Todd Phillips created Comedy gems with 2003’s Old School, the Hangover series, and 2010’s Due Date. Now, in 2016, he brings another memorable and entertaining story to moviegoers with War Dogs. Based on a true story, War Dogs was released in theaters on August 19th, and has already exceeded expectations in just a few weeks, dubbing it one of the summer’s late surprises.
The story follows a young man, David Packouz (Miles Teller: Divergent 2014, Fantastic Four 2015), who has an everyday job being a massage therapist to make ends meet and lives with this girlfriend. In addition to this, to make extra income, he sells bed sheets to a Miami retirement home, however, it is unsuccessful. Following the death of his friend, he meets his long-time school, friend Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill: Superbad 2007, 21 Jump Street 2012), who he has not seen in years and finds out he formed his own company, “AEY,” that fills orders for armory, placed by the U.S. government due to the ongoing war with Iraq. His life takes another whirlwind when he finds out that his girlfriend is pregnant with a girl. To make ends meet, he accepts a job offer from Efraim to come work for him, even though he and his girlfriend are opposed to the war. As a result, he ends up lying to his girlfriend that he is selling bed sheets to the government as a cover up.
Efraim trains David, explaining that all the orders are posted on a website, where people place bids on filling the orders and their job is to find the small orders that large contractors do not bother with and place bids on them with the orders still worth millions. They end up landing a contract that provides several thousand of Beretta pistols to the US Troops stationed in Baghdad, a deal that would put them on the map. Unfortunately, the shipment gets held up in Iraq and the only way it will get to the troops is if they routed it through Jordan. Being held up in Jordan as well, both David and Efraim decide to fly there to escort the shipment themselves. Finally reaching their destination, they meet Captain Santos who was very impressed of the lengths the two went to get the guns to him, rewarding them with a big pay.
AEY continues to grow and earn millions and David eventually lives in a wealthy apartment in Miami, providing for his family. They come across the biggest deal ever, known as “The Afghan Deal,” that is worth over $300 million. The deal is shipping 100 million rounds of AK47 ammunition. The two meet Henry Girard (Bradley Cooper: The Hangover 2009, American Sniper 2014), who has access to the ammunition although he cannot directly deal with the US government anymore due to being on the watch list, so he makes a deal with AEY.
Feeling uncomfortable, David and Efraim make a deal, going to Albania to check out the ammunition and see if they actually work, then place bids on them. They win the contract, however, David realizes that all the ammo are Chinese made, which makes them illegal as there is currently an embargo on Chinese arms. Efraim comes up with a plan to repackage the shipments with generic packaging and attempts to cut Henry out of the deal due to him being charged with a 400% markup. David protests which leaves Efraim and David in a messy situation.
Meanwhile, back home in Miami, David decides to leave the company, wanting no part of AEY and demands his payout from the Afghan deal. Efraim offers David a severance package of 200 thousand dollars, which is way less than the payout, that results in David blackmailing him with the evidence he has on falsified documentation the two created with the deals they made. In the end, they both are arrested by US authorities and Efraim is sentenced to four years in prison for his charges, while David got seven months house arrest in co-operating with the investigation. Making good, David meets Henry, who apologizes for everything that had happened to him. Henry pulls out a suitcase full of money, giving David his payout from the deal. The question is, did he take the money or not?
Not a typical Comedy with the goofiness viewers have come to expect from Phillips, War Dogs brings another element of Comedy into an intense and excessive heist that will make them cringe on the edge of their seat. Directed well and full of energy, this movie will make people laugh and feel guilty for doing so. CrypticRock gives War Dogs a 4 out of 5 stars.