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War Dogs
BLU-RAY disk
11.29.2016 By: Sean Wist
War Dogs order download
Director:
Todd Phillips

Actors:
Miles Teller
Jonah Hill
Bradley Cooper

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two young men exploit a government initiative that allows small businesses to bid on U.S. Military contracts and win a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America's allies in Afghanistan.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Adam McKay, of Anchorman fame, recently dropped out of the comedic realm to deliver a film with more of a message in The Big Short. I think audiences were surprised to find a movie that was as well-thought out and effective as it turned out to be. I bring that up because War Dogs aims to do something similar with Todd Phillips, and is not that at all.

Todd Phillips brought us Old School and the Hangover trilogy, with mixed success. For all intents and purposes, the man seems to have always had one foot outside the genre of comedy and placed firmly into drama. His taking on something based on true events, like War Dogs, is not out of left field. But the movie does feel like everything else he's done for better or worse.

Miles Teller has played the straight man before but everything surrounding his character's personal life feels the filmmakers were trying too hard to make him sympathetic. The lame job, the wife who seemingly accepts everything he does, the father he's about to be . . . it doesn't feel genuine. It's not long before Jonah Hill enters the picture as the childhood friend with all the hook-ups to make Miles' character rich, and Hill portrays a much lesser version of his character from Wolf of Wall Street. And that, more ore less, is the movie.

Both leads do a serviceable job, with producer Bradley Cooper showing up to portray a shady guns dealer. The movie also moves along at a decent pace so with the flick coming shy of just 2 hours, the ride is over before you know it. The quality of the ride, however, is nothing special. Anything relating to the business of selling (and on occasion, running) guns is fascinating, especially given the real-life roots of this story. It's when the film tries to tell the human side of its story that it stumbles. The relationship between the the two main characters falters and leads to their downfall. It's Social Network meets Lord of War, but not as good as either.
THE EXTRAS
General Phillips: Boots on the Ground (8:38): The first special feature gives us a taste of what shooting the film was like, featuring some behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew.

Access Granted (10:08): This extra focuses on the actual story behind the film, featuring some interview footage with the real-life David Packouz (played in the film by Miles Teller).

Pentagon Pie (2:49): And to wrap things up, we have some sort of promotional story that wraps up the gist of War Dogs with singing rats. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
War Dogs is an interesting real-life story wrapped around a so-so film narrative. The actors keep the ball rolling so if you like what you see in the trailer, this one's worth a look. The extras are of the EPK variety so it's nothing substantial. I'd say this one's a rental for those interested.
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