A non-cheesy comedic, action-packed drama based on true events is actually a rare thing to come by at the movies these days, but finally, there’s a movie that has it all. War Dogs is directed and written by Todd Phillips, the same guy that birthed comedic classics like The Hangover Trilogy and Project X. The film revolves around Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz, long lost high school friends who find each other again in adulthood and strike gold when they pair up to become notorious and semi-successful independent arms dealers to the U.S government. What makes this film so attractive to viewers is the fact that they are normal guys, working on their own, who were smart enough to take advantage of a loophole in the American government’s system. It’s the epitome of the American dream that anyone can do what they did with the right amount of drive, guts, and knowledge, but you know, minus the whole getting carried away part, but I won’t spoil anything. You need to watch it for yourself.
What I hate, though, is how underrated this film really is. People aren’t nearly talking about it as much as they should, and I feel that has a lot to do with its advertising. I personally loved the trailers, but it’s easy to assume the film is just a cookie-cutter comedy. People need to see the brilliance in that, though, how a true story about two young men’s involvement with the American government can be turned into such a fun and easy to understand film. It makes Bush’s laws, regulations, and simple economics easy to understand as well. The truth is, in reality, that’s what the story was, a comedy. Two stoners with a whole lot of cash and a whole life ahead of them. It’s really not your usual pair to be arming an overseas war.
How Real Is Real
Obviously, not every detail displayed in the movie actually happened in real life. But in a film full of extremely risky business and rebellious, boarder line illegal adventures, the line separating real from exaggerated Hollywood drama is extremely blurred. With my curiosity lingering after watching it, I used my extreme stalking powers to research the true story. I came across the Rolling Stones article that inspired Phillips to write the movie, and it was so amusing to read what Packouz was recalling of those years. This 25-year-old stoner, who had just smoked from his new bong, was dealing with a $300million dollar contract in the middle of his luxurious sushi dinner. How? Because of the state of war that the country was in in 2007. The Bush administration found outsourcing was the way to go, and these guys were negotiating with people the U.S didn’t want to get too involved with. Packouz and Diveroli had a shipment from their biggest contract ever get held hostage in route to Afghanistan from Kyrgyzstan, and Packouz got word of it, he suddenly found himself negotiating international security on behalf of the federal government. Easy to see how some parts of the movie are just too crazy to believe without researching right? Turns out that part was true, and also how he somehow managed to sweet talk his way into getting his shipment delivered unscathed to Afghanistan. Pretty much everything was true, except for driving across the middle east to personally deliver ammo, that was Hollywood.
War Dog’s entertaining story and amazing portrayal landed itself a spot on my top favorite movies list and maybe it’ll land a spot on yours too, if you give it a chance.