War Dogs Review

Genre: Drama, Comedy
Year: 2016
Rating: R
Runtime: 114 minutes
Main Cast: Jonah Hill
Miles Teller
Ana de Armas
Bradley Cooper
Production Companys: Joint Effort
The Mark Gordon Company
Written by: Stephen Chin
Todd Phillips
Jason Smilovic
Directed by: Todd Phillips


Written by Nelson Cumming

“Fine” is the perfect word to describe this War Dogs. Fine as in it’s slightly better than ok. It would be offensive to say it’s worse and it would also be offensive to say it was better. War Dogs is a film that has ambition but doesn’t have a spark. It can tell a story and keep you awake but was not enough to be engrossed. It is interesting in the subject matter of armaments trading and that is about it. It tries hard to be great though which I respect.

Inspirations of Greatness but falls short.

One thing that’s good about War Dogs that from a filmmaking perspective is that it wants to be accessible to young adults, but also be great. It does this by looking at recent films that have achieved that goal like The Big Short and The Wolf of Wall Street and The Hurt Locker. That was smart.

However, when I would see these elements all I was thinking was “The Big Short did it better” “The Wolf of Wall St. did it better” etc. what this did was it made me realize that the film was subpar compared to the movies that helped inspire the filming process and style. This is perhaps the biggest flaw in the movie. It made me constantly think it wasn’t great.

Leaps and Bounds Beyond Failure.

While it didn’t achieve greatness, War Digs is far from a failure. Its script is great. It is written dialogue that is easy to listen to and has these great liners when they were needed. There are title cards in the movie that have a line like “When does telling the truth ever hurt anybody” and “God bless Dick Cheney’s America” that will foreshadow the most important or entertaining line in the upcoming scene. I liked that. It was a left-of-centre structure that made you believe the movie was not on auto-pilot.

The Actors Were Good. Especially Hill and Cooper.

The chemistry between Jonah Hill and Miles Teller ultimately make this film work. Their character dynamics were always interesting and entertaining when things are both sweet and sour for them. The other actor that was good was Bradley Cooper. He plays a shady businessman. He gets the tone right. He is unsettling but mesmerizing. He screams “Bad sketchy Guy” but isn’t too creepy at doing it.

Overall War Dogs is a film I liked seeing. Nothing in it was too bad, but there is nothing in it that make me think it should be memorable as it wanted to be. If you pay to see it, you won’t feel ripped off seeing it, but you won’t be quoting it to your friends while saying “Man, I saw this great movie called War Dogs!” As I said from the start, War Dogs is fine. ***

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