From the director of the 'Hangover' trilogy comes 'War Dogs', a film more serious than it's being portrayed in the trailers. With Todd Phillips directing you can still expect those moments of comedy sprinkled throughout the movie. Whilst looking at a true story with some serious issues, Phillips is able to combine all of the elements within 'War Dogs' very well.
As the story deals with the bizarre ways that weapons are sold, Phillips does the most important thing which is keeping this interesting. There are times where Hill and Teller's characters are spending most of their time working in offices but it is kept entertaining throughout. You can see that Phillips has worked with comedy before as he sprinkles his humour across the story. It is never overdone to make it feel like a complete comedy which he also deserves huge credit for. Phillips has shown that he is more than capable of creating a more serious film whilst still adding that touch of humour to make it that bit more enjoyable.
The aspect of war being treated like a business and how it was open for anyone really to be apart of was very compelling creating a good storyline. This takes our protagonists all over the world from Jordan to Albania where they meet interesting characters- such as Bradley Cooper's performance as the mysterious Girard who is up to no good- as well as getting themselves caught in tricky situations. Cooper's character seems untrustworthy adding more something else to the film that you have to question. This really keeps the film interesting and keeps a hold of your attention as we see Hill and Teller in action rather than behind the desk or just on the phone. They have to face many difficulties throughout their journey which creates a very entertaining viewing as the pair react to everything perfectly.
Jonah Hill does a fantastic job as Efraim, the experienced of the duo with a shady past. Hill is hilarious as he takes no crap from anyone and also seems very convincing that makes his character seem quite untrustworthy. Hill's portrayal is one of my favourites of his as he combines both the fun and serious sides of the character incredibly well. Teller provides a good performance alongside Hill whilst narrating over a lot of the events that are going on. The pair work very well and create that feeling of being good friends and do very well as the film progresses and you can see them slowly drift apart. It does reach a certain point though where you can tell exactly where their relationship is going and it then comes as no surprise when it eventually happens. Despite this, Hill and Teller's performances really elevate this film and are by far the best parts of the film.
There is a clear motivation from Teller's character David to make money to provide for his new family at first. However once he starts getting more into it, it sort of loses track of this other than showing a new apartment that he has moved his family into. His wife Iz (Ana De Armas) seems to be brought in every so often to create a conflict for David and to try keep him level-headed. It also continuously creates a conflict between the two that doesn't really go with the rest of the film. We see Iz pack up and leave and David isn't as bothered as you'd think he would be. Instead, he's off in Albania, even spending the likes of Christmas away before making a real effort to patch things up. I feel that this aspect and the character of Iz wasn't properly utilized and only brought up when the story needed a diversion.
Overall, 'War Dogs' is a fairly good tale which is propelled by its two leads. Director Todd Phillips has also shown that he can do more than just comedy but still sprinkles his expertise in comedy throughout the movie. An enjoyable movie that is worth checking out, even just for the performance from Jonah Hill alone.
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