Armed and Hilarious in “War Dogs” (Movie Review)

War Dogs (2016)
Warner Bros. Pictures

Directed by: Todd Phillips
Written by: Stephen Chin, Todd Phillips, and Jason Smilovic
Starring: Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Ana de Armas, and Bradley Cooper

The Good
In War Dogs, director Todd Phillips recaptures the same feeling and style of The Hangover films. Despite being labeled a comedy, this film feels more like a series of humorous moments. Jonah Hill, in my opinion, completely steals the movie. He continues to deliver in various ways through his insults, role playing, and banter with Miles Teller’s character.

One thing I most appreciate about this film is the writing. The movie explains gun trading so effectively and practically that almost anyone can understand it (even if you’re completely against the idea of war). This is especially essential for certain plot points. We’re not left in the dark about the impact of specific events.

The Bad
There don’t seem to be any major standout scenes. While many are good, they don’t have much lasting power. Unfortunately for this film, the story is rather predictable. You can see the plot twists from a mile away, and the character telegraph their motivations pretty clearly.

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Miles Teller, despite being cast as the lead, never really feels like he steps up to the challenge. Jonah Hill dances circles around him in terms of acting. Maybe most important, the movie feels a little long. It’s hard to say what needs to be cut, but the pacing of the film drags the movie along.

The Reason
War Dogs is enjoyable and entertaining. It feels like a more serious spin-off of The Hangover, but nevertheless, it is a decent watch. Seeing as though this is based on a true story, it may even compel you to do a little research because the ending of the film had many people in the audience literally saying “WTF?” Give War Dogs a shot, but go in with low expectations.

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