War Dogs review: ‘Teller and Hill pair up well but ultimately fail’

War Dogs. Picture: Warner Bros. Entertainment.

War Dogs. Picture: Warner Bros. Entertainment. - Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon

Jonah Hill and Miles Teller star in War Dogs, a black comedy about two gunrunners who made a fortune procuring weapons for the US military

Warner Brothers can’t see a good title without changing it.

All You Need Is Kill, was renamed Edge of Tomorrow. Now this black comedy about two stoner twenty something gunrunners who made a fortune procuring weapons for the US military has gone from being Arms and The Dude, to the almost self-erasingly unmemorable War Dogs.

Perhaps it’s some kind of health and safety issue: provoked by fears that a film with a fatter than ever Hill and the least likeable member of the Fantastic Four cast would provoke dangerous stampedes in cinema foyers.

The Arms are a $300m shipment of bullets to Afghanistan, and the Dudes are two Jewish kids who grew up together in Miami.

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The movie gets its message in early with an opening speech about how war is a racket – a single US soldier costs $17,500 to kit out – and that anyone who believes it’s about freedom and democracy is a schmuck.

With that out of the way, the film can get into their rise and downfall.

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Miles Teller and Jonah Hill pair up well, but the partnership is not an equal split. Hill gets to play the flashy flaky showboater role, while Teller is too much of a goody two shoes.

Bradley Cooper cameos as the world’s biggest arms dealer, looking like a cross between Bono and Eddie the Eagle.

They fail because they are reaching too far; similarly the film can’t match grand amoral sweep of the classic Scorsese crime dramas -Goodfellas, Wolf of Wall Street – it is aiming for.

It’s a funny and entertaining approximation, a good story well told, but the gap between its aim and its reach is clear in every popular music choice that is just a little bit too obvious.

Rating: 3 stars

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