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War Dogs | 2016 | R | - 4.5.10

A slick businessman (Jonah Hill) offers an old friend (Miles Teller) a partnership as an arms dealer and they travel to Jordan, Iraq, and Albania to make lucrative deals with shady characters and terrorists. When they win a $300 million US government contract, their sales techniques backfire and repercussions accumulate. Also with Bradley Cooper, Ana de Arnas and Kevin Pollack. Directed by Todd Phillips. Several lines of dialogue are in Albanian and Arabic with and without English subtitles. [1:54]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - A woman wearing a sleeveless undershirt lies in bed and we see her erect nipples through the fabric. A woman wears a series of short-shorts that reveal most of her bare thighs and lower legs. A few beach scenes feature women wearing skimpy bikinis that bare buttocks, cleavage and abdomens while men wear knee length shorts. Two strippers in a dimly lit club wear over-the-knee boots and bikinis while they gyrate (we see buttocks, legs, backs, shoulders, and a side view of cleavage). A few club scenes include women wearing strapless blouses and dresses that reveal cleavage. A shirtless man stands in his hotel doorway and we see his bare upper chest. A man wears a long robe, T-shirt and boxers as he scratches his groin.
 A husband and his wife kiss briefly in a few scenes. Two men kiss each other's cheeks in greeting.
 A male massage therapist rubs the back of a man facing down with his buttocks covered by a towel; the first man turns away and the second man removes the towel (we can see full back nudity including buttocks) and the first man puts the towel back.
 A woman says that she is pregnant while holding a pregnancy test in her hand and in another scene we see her slightly swollen belly during an ultrasound; we later see a baby in a crib. A male massage therapist's male friend tells others that the therapist masturbates men for money (this is not true).

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VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - Two men and a driver transport a truck full of guns to Iraq from Jordan and they find a dead man lying inside an abandoned gas station (no injury visible); shouting in fear, they see two jeeps with black-robed and hooded men carrying rifles speeding toward them; the men in the jeeps fire many shots as the truck speeds away and the US Army appears in a helicopter and four Humvees, firing back and running them off.
 A man does not receive drugs that he paid for so he removes a gun from his car and fires into the air as he walks toward the dealers and they shout and run (no one is injured). Three men in a truck reach a road block formed by two jeeps as a soldier turns on bright jeep lights, shouts and draws his rifle until the truck driver pays him two cartons of cigarettes and is allowed to pass. A man tests an AK-47 outside a warehouse, shooting several empty barrels and laughing as another man sticks his fingers in his own ears. A man at a firing range practices with an automatic pistol on a paper target of a man and a woman, shooting several holes in the figures.
 A scene and a flashback show two men pulling another man out of a car trunk into an abandoned warehouse lot and beating him with fists, bloodying his nose as the victim whimpers and a third man points a pistol at his face, but releases him; the attackers leave the victim in a snowy parking lot wearing a sweatshirt and boxer shorts. Two men enter a dark hotel room at night and we hear them pull another man from bed and beat him as we hear shouts and groans. In a restaurant a man punches another man, breaking a glass table loudly when he man falls. Two men ride an elevator to the ground floor in their apartment building and one man punches the other in the nose, causing bruising.
 Footage of WWII bombings and smoking battlefields appears on a TV screen and this segues into present footage of US soldiers in Afghanistan in dusty conditions and carrying rifles while we hear rapid gunfire (no one is shown to be wounded). A man burns dozens of cases of sheets in a pile on a dock and flames and smoke fill half the screen.
 A huge warehouse in an old factory is filled with ammunition cases, mortar shells, boxcar storage units, rifles, handguns, bombs and a bomber plane as a man says that there are 700 such places in this country. Two men purchase what they think is Soviet AK-47 ammo and learn that it is cheap ammo that they have repackaged in plain cardboard boxes (we see bullets weighed, loaded into gallon-size baggies, and placed into the boxes) and resell them. In a weapons tradeshow scene, a man points a gun with a red-dot site feature at another man's chest and a gun dealer pushes the first man's hands down to stop him. Two men visit a tech-weapons tradeshow and meet an illegal arms dealer on the US terrorist watch list; the dealer says that America is a dump.
 A man tears up a partnership agreement and when his business partner returns from being beaten up and demands his share of illegal arms revenues, the first man refuses; the partner throws a golden hand grenade through the plate glass wall dividing their offices and stomps out (we hear and see loud shattering glass, but no one is harmed).
 A dozen FBI agents wearing Kevlar vests arrest two men and the men are taken away in police cars as the wife of one of the men stands on the sidewalk with a baby carriage, looking shocked. A silent scene features a dry cleaner being arrested by the FBI.
 A man has a giant photo of Al Pacino as Scarface covering one wall of his office, grimacing as he fires an automatic weapon.
 A man throws his cell phone hard onto a concrete floor, cursing. A husband and his wife argue frequently over his lying about his dangerous work and she leaves with their baby, slamming the door. A man shouts and curses at his partner and other people in dozens of scenes, banging his head on the wall of a corridor in frustration in one scene. When a truck carrying firearms reaches an army camp, a captain tells the two men delivering them that they just drove through the "Triangle of Death." A man says that old men have lizard skin. A married man with black eyes and a broken nose appears at his wife's door and she takes him back after having left him. A man says that the US government wants to look the other way when illegal arms deals are made on its behalf. An 11-year-old boy translates for Arab and American arms dealers and smugglers in several scenes. A few men and a woman say that a cab driver disappeared and no one ever sees him again; a man gives another man a briefcase of money, telling him not to ask any more questions about the driver. A voiceover states that an arms dealer was charged with 70 federal crimes and sentenced to four years in prison; the voice says that the narrator was sentenced to several months' house arrest (in his multi-million-dollar apartment) and that he and the first man can bid on government contracts again in the year 2022.
 We see a funeral where a coffin is shown with flowers on top and mourners are dressed in black. We see several elderly men and elderly women in wheelchairs in a nursing home.
 A man urinates against a wall (we hear nothing and see him only from mid-chest and mid-back, up).

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LANGUAGE 10 - About 144 F-words and its derivatives, 4 obscene hand gestures, 13 sexual references, 40 scatological terms, 11 anatomical terms, 4 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory term for African-Americans, name-calling (crazy, stupid, dumb, nerd, cheap, joke, weird, ridiculous, scumbag, genius, fat, fat cat, shady, dump), 23 religious exclamations (Oh my God, God bless you, God bless Dick Cheney, We're doing God's work, I swear to God, As God is my witness, Holy [scatological term deleted], Holy [F-word deleted].

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SUBSTANCE USE - A man smokes a marijuana cigarette in a parked car until a guard knocks on the window and tells him he cannot smoke that, a man gives several hundred dollars to another man for marijuana and the seller does not give him the drug (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), two men smoke marijuana cigarettes in a parked car and we see some smoke (they later sway somewhat and one smoker says they sound like a lot more than two people walking), two men smoke from a bong in an office, a man smokes a drugged cigarette at home and blows a large smoke cloud, several scenes show a man snorting white power from the back of his hand and from a tabletop after cutting it up with a razor blade, and we see a rolled $100 bill and white power disappearing into it in close-up. Two men drink bottles of beer at an outdoor food court and in a café, men and women at a party hold glasses of champagne and we see them drink them, a few men in a restaurant sit around a table and drink wine and whisky, and tables in a restaurant are shown with glasses of wine on them. A man smokes a cigarette in an office, several men smoke cigarettes outdoors and in buildings like a factory and a café as well as in offices, a taxi driver smokes a cigarette as he drives, and a close-up shows a hand taking a cigarette out of an ash tray.

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DISCUSSION TOPICS - War, politics, government contractors, illegal arms trade, fraud, murder, recreational drugs, conspicuous consumption, truth, lying, manipulation, greed, money, danger, placing others in danger for profit, foolishness, bravery, family, friendship, respect, trust, risk-taking.
MESSAGE - Illegal arms sales is a risky business that can lead to loss of family, imprisonment, and death, although the actual legal consequences for the wealthy in America sometimes seem lenient.
CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.



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