Movie: War Dogs
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: It is Miami Beach in 2005, and 22 year old David Packouz (Miles Teller) is scuffling along trying to support his young beautiful wife Iz (Ana de Armas). He has quit or been fired from six jobs since he dropped out of college, and is eking out a living as a masseuse for $72 an hour when he can get a client. Suddenly, his life is changed dramatically when childhood chum Efraim Diveroll (Jonah Hill) comes back to town. As they reminisce about high school capers, Efraim offers David a job working for him, in his new company called AEY. Turns out Diveroll had figured out how to make a nice living by accessing the Dept of Defense procurement offers, and was putting in bids for small business contracts and winning enough of them to make a good living. But with additional help, Diveroll figured they could make a play for bigger and more lucrative contracts.
Soon David and Efraim were indeed quite successful, and enjoying the fruits of their labors with matching porsches and luxury apartments in the same building. David and Iz have a baby, and the future looks very bright indeed. But then they reach for the brass ring, a contract worth multi millions of dollars, and bids are submitted by many big arms companies. The contract is referred to as the Afghan Deal, and would provide U.S. support to Afghan troops against the terrorist threats in Afghanistan. In order to make a plausible bid, the two young men realized they needed to enlist the support of a source who could provide scarce ammo and weapons at a low cost to them, which brought them into an unholy alliance with the notorious Henry Girard (Bradley Cooper). With Girard’s contacts, AEY wins the Pentagon contract for the Afghan Deal, and soon they are dealing with all the details and problems associated with any major contract with ties in foreign countries.
This movie is interesting on several levels. For one thing, it is based on a true story which was published in a book entitled Arms and the Dudes. In terms of the acting in this film, it is very good. Miles Teller is a rising star, and Jonah Hill plays a complex and colorful character with real gusto. Bradley Cooper is a rarity in Hollywood, as he play a minor but key character in this story, and is mesmerizing in his few scenes. Few mega stars are willing to branch out and play supporting roles while on the top of the ladder in the film industry. Look for Ana de Armas’s star to rise. She is about to appear in another major film Hands of Stone this month. Bottom line: this is an compelling story that will hold your interest to the very end, and afterwards you will wonder what the heck has been going on with procurement practices for weapons deals in our country.
Dialogue Nuggets: David – “My name is David Packouz, and I am an international arms dealer.”
David – “When life kicked me, I stayed down. But not Efraim, he kicked back.”
Efraim – “Everybody is fighting for the same pie, and ignoring the crumbs. I live on the crumbs.”
Efraim – “Bush opened the floodgates in Iraq. It’s a f*cking gold rush!”
David – “They call guys like us war dogs. It was meant to be derogatory, but I kind of liked it.”
Captain Santos, U.S. Army, to David – “I’m in the ass-crack of the world defending your freedom, and I have to work with you shitbags?”
David – “Our entire business was riding on the word of an 11 year old translator.”
Efraim – “David, we’re gunrunners. Let’s go run some f*cking guns!”
Captain Santos – “You drove through the Triangle of Death? Great f*cking job!”
“Henry Girard was a legend. When they hung Saddam Hussein, it was said Henry sold them the rope.”
Weird Cameo – The real David Packouz is in the film very briefly in a scene as a singer.