War Dogs (Blu-ray) (2016)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-General Phillips: Boots On the Ground
|Year Of Production||2016|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Todd Phillips|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Ana de Armas
Patrick St. Esprit
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
††† War Dogs is director Todd Phillipsí first directorial endeavour since finishing his tenure on The Hangover trilogy, and it represents a significant change of pace for the filmmaker. Ditching his broad comedic instincts in favour of something more serious, 2016ís War Dogs has laughs here and there, but itís a drama first and foremost, playing out in a similar fashion to Lord of War with traces of Martin Scorsese flicks and Scarface. Tagged as being based on a true story, itís a mostly fictionalised adaptation of the Rolling Stones article ďArms and the DudesĒ (a much better title), and although it has issues in its third act, it provides an intriguing, engaging look at the world of arms dealing. Itís a promising effort for Phillips, who forgoes goofiness in order to build a legitimate sense of danger.
††† David (Miles Teller) is a young masseuse in Miami, but struggles to make ends meet. And just to heighten the financial stress, his young girlfriend Isabella (Ana de Armas) discovers that she is pregnant. A chance encounter reunites David with childhood best friend Efraim (Jonah Hill), a shady salesman who makes a fortune selling guns and ammo to the United States government, who now offer arms contracts to the smaller players. Efraim offers David the opportunity to become his business partner, a job he simply cannot refuse. Lying to his pacifist girlfriend about what heís actually doing, David begins earning more money than he knows what to do with, but endeavours to remain cautious. Choosing to ignore their rule of only bidding for small contracts, David and Efraim team up with veteran arms dealer Henry (Bradley Cooper) to pull off a major job for the government worth tens of millions of dollars.
††† There is a lot of background information to War Dogs, as it delves into the convoluted world of government contracts and arms dealing, which would be unknown territory for most film-goers. Yet, to the credit of Phillips and co-writers Stephen Chin and Jason Smilovic, the film manages to sufficiently convey the stakes and other relevant information in a brisk manner without dumbing down the material. Precarious situations continue to crop up for the boys which are easy to comprehend - including the need to circumvent legislation to get Berettas into Iraq, and conceal the Chinese origins of AK-47 ammunition - and itís fascinating to see the boys working to overcome such issues. Less successful, though, are a handful of contrived plot points, such as a very obvious situation in the third act involving a signed contract thatís left unprotected in an officer drawer. War Dogs does stumble as it approaches the finish line, with Phillips seemingly unsure of where to end the story. The finale is underwhelming to a certain extent, but luckily itís not enough to diminish everything that came before it.
††† Phillips visibly channels Scorsese and Brian De Palma here, with stylish cinematography and an eclectic soundtrack filled with songs to accentuate many of the filmís best moments. Efraim is a self-proclaimed fan of Scarface, too, even decking out his office in a movie poster, which is probably reminiscent of Phillipsí attitude towards the 1983 classic. Teller has been one of Hollywoodís favourite new playthings for years, but apart from a couple of standout performances in smaller indies (The Spectacular Now, Whiplash), the actor has not been able to prove himself (the less said about Divergent and Fant4stic, the better). Luckily, he acquits himself respectably here, though he still doesnít have the presence or gravitas to be a confident leading man. Hill fares a bit better, playing against type as the unscrupulous Efraim, who leaves you wondering whether you should like or distrust him. Itís an understated turn, but he does have his volatile moments. Strong support is also provided by Phillips regular Cooper as a powerful long-time arms dealer, while Kevin Pollak has a few moments to shine as Ralph Slutzky, who owns the dry cleaning business which backs the boysí operation.
††† War Dogs is a definite high point on Phillipsí filmography, which is relieving to see after three consecutive disappointments (2010ís Due Date and the Hangover sequels). Itís also worthwhile in a sea of generic PG-13 blockbusters. In spite of its shortcomings, itís worth seeing. Just donít expect an instant classic like Wolf of Wall Street or Scarface.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
† † All editions worldwide appear identical, apart from differing audio and subtitle options.
|DVD||Samsung UBD-K8500 4K HDR Blu-Ray Player, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG OLED55C6T. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||LG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W|