According to the urban dictionary, a War Dog is a political and/or military person who is immorally eager to encourage a people or nation to go to war. This is not Jonah Hill and Miles Teller, as Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz in the movie by Todd Philips, director of “The Hangover” series.
The movie “War Dogs” is based on a true story told in a 2011 Rolling Stone article. It’s a comedy drama about two 20-something, childhood friends, who own a small time, government contract filling, arms selling business. Their bravado gets the best of them over a possible $30 million dollar deal, and they make the mistake of trying to play at the same level as the major munitions providers - the big boys.
This film makes military gunrunning look like a giddy rush, where you’re up all night smoking marijuana, partying at nightclubs, and traveling the world. After a night out, Efraim and David hop a plane to the Middle East to drive guns held up by trade embargos in Jordan, to Baghdad, while being chased by mercenaries.
Right when, those rebels are about to creep up on their tail in Fallujah, the U.S. military swoops in like a superhero and saves them. They are flown back to the U.S. via military escort like dignitaries, after getting paid in cash. After all, they are the “best smugglers in all of Jordan,” and just “drove through the triangle of death” to deliver weapons.
Between the laughs provided by the great writing of this perfect summer blockbuster, the film is laden with deeper meaning.
Don’t run off to start a new career path just yet. As everyone knows, war is not funny, and the U.S. military is not likely to show up in the middle of the desert, if you’re being run down by rebel insurgents.
Also, war is serious business. David, narrates the story, and at the outset says, “War is an economy. Anyone who tells you otherwise is in on it or stupid.” He goes on to say how much everything costs, including at the time of the Iraq/Afghan war, outfitting a soldier is $17,500.
Bradley Cooper and Ana de Armas help bring the story together, Cooper as a shady arms dealer on the U.S. terrorist watch list and Armas as David’s wife.
David and Efraim, while they seem unlikely, are a realistic duo. The introspective, nice person often gets taken in by the boisterous, reckless character, and they balance each other out, until the State Department steps in to investigate, and then they don’t.