Starring: Miles Teller, Jonah Hill, Ana de Armas, J. B. Blanc, Bradley Cooper
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Comedy bio-drama directed and co-written by Todd Phillips, based on the Rolling Stone article by Guy Lawson. War Dogs (2016) follows two friends, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli (Miles Teller and Jonah Hill), living in Miami during the first Iraq War who exploit a little-known government initiative that allows small businesses to bid on US Military contracts. Starting small, they begin raking in big money and are living the high life. But the pair gets in over their heads when they land a 300 million dollar deal to arm the Afghan Military, a deal that puts them in business with some very shady people, not the least of which turns out to be the US Government.
David Packouz: What do you know about war? They’ll tell you it’s about patriotism, democracy, or some shit about the other guy hating our freedom. But you want to know what it’s really about? What do you see? A kid from Arkansas doing his patriotic duty to defend his country? I see a helmet, fire-retardant gloves, body armor and an M16. I see seventeen thousand five hundred dollars. That’s what it costs to outfit one American soldier. Over two million soldiers fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. It cost the American taxpayer $4.5 billion each year just to pay the air conditioning bills for those wars. And that’s what war is really about. War is an economy. Anybody who tells you otherwise is either in on it or stupid.
David Packouz: My name is David Packouz. I’m twenty-two years old and I’m an international arms dealer. Six months ago I was a message therapist in Miami Beach, and now here I was with my best friend from junior high.
Efraim Diveroli: I think you should come work for me.
David Packouz: I’m against this war.
Efraim Diveroli: This isn’t about being pro-war. This is about being pro-money.
Army Bureaucrat #1: Frankly we’re a tad concerned with your performance history against a deal of this size.
Army Bureaucrat #2: But after meeting you two face-to-face we feel like we’re in good hands on this one.
David Packouz: We won’t let you down…sirs.
Army Bureaucrat #1: Not to mention your, “It was far too attractive for us to pass up.”
Efraim Diveroli: What did you mean by that, exactly?
Army Bureaucrat #2: It means boys low-balled the entire industry.
Efraim Diveroli: Yeah, uh, by how much?
Army Bureaucrat #1: You guys came in fifty-three million dollars than the nearest competition.
Efraim Diveroli: [realizes what they’ve just missed out on] Oh, okay.
CNN News Anchor: Now to the question that has no clear answer. How did two twenty-something young men land a three hundred million dollar Pentagon contract?
Efraim Diveroli: I have a big idea.
Efraim Diveroli: They call guys like us War Dogs, bottom feeders who make money off of war without every stepping foot on the battle field. It was meant to be derogatory, but we kind of liked it.
David Packouz: [going through check-in at a Middle Eastern airport] Sorry, kind of an emergency.
Efraim Diveroli: Sorry. Don’t worry I have to go first, I’m American.
David Packouz: Do you seriously want to drive to Baghdad?
Efraim Diveroli: David, we’re gun runners. Let’s go run some guns.
David Packouz: [to Efraim as they are being chased by some gunners] They’re getting closer! Come on, man, go!
Soldier: [referring to the guns they’ve just delivered] You drove this? Through the Triangle of Death?
David Packouz: The Triangle of Death, bro!
Efraim Diveroli: We drive through all Triangles, including your moms.
David Packouz: I thought you said that you sold like seized weapons to gun nuts on the internet.
Efraim Diveroli: Not anymore. Now I only sell to one gun nut.
David Packouz: Oh, yeah? Which one?
Efraim Diveroli: The US military, m**herf***er! Want to do a bong hit?
David Packouz: Hello?
David Packouz: Hey, babe.
Iz: Did I wake you?
David Packouz: [we see he’s in Fallujah, Iraq] No, I’m just at the hotel, we’re about to have some breakfast.
Iz: Listen, I get why you’re doing this. It’s just the lying that kills me. I need you to know that you can tell me anything, David. David?
David Packouz: [sees two trucks full of people driving towards them] Yeah, I go to call you right back.
Iz: Is everything okay?
David Packouz: Yeah, everything’s fine. Okay, I love you. Bye.
David Packouz: [honks the horn as Efraim slowly makes his way to their truck] Hey!
Efraim Diveroli: What?
David Packouz: Look!
David Packouz: [the men on the two trucks start shooting at them] Go! Go! Go!
Iz: You told me you guys were selling bed sheets.
David Packouz: I also told you that we were selling other stuff too.
Iz: I thought you meant pillows!
David Packouz: A hundred million rounds of AK-47 ammo. You can fill the whole order.
Henry Girard: I’m barred from doing any business with the US government. I’m on a watch list.
David Packouz: You’re on a terrorist watch list?
Efraim Diveroli: [to David] Do you work for Homeland Security? Relax, bro.
Efraim Diveroli: [to David] This is the job. To do with the business with the people the US government can’t do business with directly.
Efraim Diveroli: Everyone’s fighting over the same pie and ignoring the crumbs. I live off crumbs.
Efraim Diveroli: All the money is made between the lines.
David Packouz: We’re on the verge of making three hundred million dollars. Is that legal?
Efraim Diveroli: It’s not illegal.
Efraim Diveroli: Jordanian customs seized our Berettas.
David Packouz: What? Why?
Efraim Diveroli: I don’t f***ing know, David! I dropped out of high school before they covered international diplomacy!
Henry Girard: [to David and Efraim] I’m not a bad man, but in a certain situation I have to ask myself, “What would a bad man do?”
David Packouz: Is this safe, driving to Baghdad?
Marlboro: Very safe, fifty-fifty.
David Packouz: What like fifty percent we live, fifty percent we die?
Marlboro: Yes, this is why we drive through the night, it is much safer.
David Packouz: How much safer?
David Packouz: Woh. What the…
Efraim Diveroli: When does telling the truth ever help anybody?