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War Dogs  (DVD)


Stars: Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Bradley Cooper, Ana de Armas, Kevin Pollak, J B Blanc, Gabriel Spahiu

Director: Todd Phillips

A fast-moving and fascinating, true-in-essence story about two Miami dudes in their late twenties - in reality there were three - who switched from mundane jobs to become arms dealers - with extraordinary success. And they would probably still be doing it today were it not for the senior partner's greed.

David (Teller) is working as a seaside masseur to help support his partner (de Armas) and their young daughter, when he runs into old college chum Efraim (Hill, bulked back up for this role) who is already running guns to the highest bidder, snapping up smaller contracts - 'the crumbs' as he calls them - that bigger outfits won't bother with.

Almost as soon as David joins him, for 30% of the already considerable profits, a contract to supply Beretta pistols to American soldiers in Iraq comes up. It looks good, but, as in most of their deals, there's a snag: the Italian government has banned exports of the guns, and David and Efraim must get them from Jordan to Iraq - in, as it turns out, a lorry - through dangerous territory.

The Iraq episode is the best in the film, and lands the partners with a fortune. But of course, they want more - and that's where international arms dealer Henri Girard (Cooper) comes in. Things eventually unravel, although one might question David's naiveté in failing to keep the contract with Efraim on him, or at least lock it away.

Hill is outstanding as the increasingly volatile loose cannon Efraim and all the other performances are good, including the veteran Pollak as the laundry-chain magnate who bankrolls the operation to begin with.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by efilm.
109 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 24 Dec 2016