Based solely on the talent involved, if 2016’s War Dogs was released today, it would probably be marketed and advertised as an awards baiting prestige drama in the vein of Adam McKay’s The Big Short, with both movies sharing plenty of similarities as heightened and often heavily fictionalized dramatizations of true stories that rely strongly on comedy based on the sheer absurdity of the situation the characters find themselves in.
You’ve got Todd Phillips behind the camera, who was best known for his comedy work at the time but is now the three-time Academy Award nominated producer, director and co-writer of Joker, while War Dogs is also produced by the co-founder of Phillips’ Joint Effort company Bradley Cooper, himself an eight-time nominee, who plays a small role as an arms trader.
Then there’s Jonah Hill in the lead part, with the actor having two Oscar nods under his belt, while co-star Miles Teller has proven himself to be a talent of considerable range. The potential is definitely there for something special, then, but War Dogs is a bit hit and miss when it comes to the execution. That being said, there’s still plenty of entertainment value to be found.
Loosely based on a Rolling Stone article, the film adaptation plays very hard and fast with the facts, but Hill is on phenomenal form as a man who refuses to admit that he’s out of his depth. There’s not much in the way of biting satire or social commentary to be found, but War Dogs is a thoroughly enjoyable hybrid of black comedy and crime thriller, one that’s poised to play very well on Netflix now that it’s been added to the content library as of today.