War Dogs

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War Dogs
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IMDb: 7.1
In the year 2005, David Packouz is a twenty-two-year-old man living in Miami and working as a licensed massage therapist, but he's tired of making money from touching old rich men. He dropped college after one semester, had a falling out with his parents, and quit or got fired from six different jobs, so his options are limited. Spending his life savings on high-quality bedsheets to resell to retirement homes hasn't worked out either, because the owners of retirement homes don't care about giving elderly people a good quality of life. One afternoon, during a funeral, he reconnects with Efraim Diveroli, his best friend from school who he hasn't seen in years. Efraim had been living in L.A. with his uncle, working in the arms dealing business, but his uncle has stolen some money from him, so Efraim decided to quit and come to Miami to start his own business, called AEY. While hanging out, they stop to buy some pot, but Efraim gets tricked out of his money by some thugs hanging out by his dealer's house. As revenge, he takes out a machine gun from his car trunk and fires it at the sky, scaring everyone away. This causes quite an impression on David, who is tired of getting crap from people and admires those that stand up for themselves. The following day, David visits Efraim at his office and his respect grows when he sees him in action, impersonating an army officer to find out what contracts his competition are going for since he doesn't only sell guns on the internet, he also sells to the USA government. The money he makes from it is pretty good, and since they are buddies, Efraim decides to show David how it works. The government has a public website containing every military contract currently up for bidding, and Efraim ignores the big ones that huge companies are fighting over to grab the little contracts everyone ignores. The thing is, when it comes to dealing with the Pentagon, even the smallest contract is worth millions. After having lunch with Efraim, David goes home and finds out his wife Iz is pregnant. This makes him freak out, thinking he can't provide for a baby, so when he meets with his friend again, Efraim offers him to work with him. At first, David wants nothing to do with the idea, seeing as he and Iz are against this war - they even go to rallies and sign petitions. But Efraim sweet-talks him into changing his mind, somehow convincing him this wouldn't mean becoming pro-war, and so David accepts. What he tells Iz however, is that they'll be selling sheets to the army, not weapons, so she's fully supportive. David spends the following six weeks learning it all about the arms dealing business, scouting the government's page for good overlooked deals, and talking on the phone with weapon manufacturers from Eastern Europe. They call guys like them "war dogs", bottom-feeders who make money off of war without ever stepping foot on the battlefield. Efraim has one silent partner, Ralph Slutzky, a local businessman and owner of fourteen dry-cleaners across Miami. He is the one that provides them with funding in exchange for 25% of the company, or at least, what he thinks is 25%. Ralph is also being lied to, not only about the real numbers they are making, but about their intentions: he thinks Efraim, like himself, is observant Jewish and wants to protect Israel, so they don't tell him they sell to every side of the war equally. The more time he spends in the business, the better David becomes at it, and he even manages to get in contact with Henry Girard, the biggest supplier to both sides of the conflict for the last twenty years. After a failed night spent at a bar where Efraim gets punched for hitting on the wrong girl, they go to a diner, where they receive a call that confirms they got the Beretta deal, which consists of providing several thousand Beretta pistols to the Iraqi Police in Baghdad. A few days later, David and Iz are at the doctor getting the first look at their baby through an ultrasound and find out it's a girl. Their little moment is interrupted however, when David gets a call from Captain Phillip Santos who is worried about a new legislation that bans all arms shipments to Iraq from Italy, where the Beretta pistols are. David wasn't aware of this new law, but this is an important deal, so he lies and tells Santos they have everything under control. Thankfully, Efraim gets an idea of how to solve it: they will ship the pistols from Italy to Jordan, a country they have no beef with, and from Jordan they can send them to Iraq. Later that night, David and Iz are having a dinner party, where some of Iz's friends warn David to be careful about Efraim because he was the one that stole money from his uncle and not the other way around. Speaking of the devil, Efraim enters the apartment at that very moment, getting a bit jealous because he wasn't invited. David speaks with him privately and after explaining this is Iz's party with her friends and not his, Efraim tells him what the urgent problem is: Jordanian customs have seized their guns. Captain Santos knows this too and calls them then to demand an explanation and threatens them with canceling them for cause if they don't deliver. Getting canceled for cause means they would blacklist their company and they wouldn't get a contract ever again, so they need to figure out a solution as soon as possible. Their conversation is overheard by Iz, who freaks out when she finally learns her husband is an arms dealer and tells him she feels she can't trust him anymore. Sadly, David doesn't have time to figure things out with her, because he and Efraim need to fly to Jordan immediately. Once there, they get no help from the embassy because their flying permission has expired, so after bribing the locals to release their cargo, they hire a driver called Marlboro, known as the best smuggler in the country, to drive them to Iraq so that they can deliver the guns themselves. David is worried about the safety of such a trip, but Efraim tells him it'll be quick and they'll be there by morning, so there's nothing to worry about. In the middle of the night, they arrive at the Iraqui border and the patrols stop him, but Marlboro easily bribes them with cigarettes, claiming that's also the cargo they're delivering, so they're allowed to cross with no issues. David and Efraim fall asleep after that, and when they wake up in the morning, they find the truck has stopped in front of an abandoned gas station. While Marlboro refills the gas can and Efraim takes a leak, David receives a call from Iz, who tells him she's finally understood how much pressure he is under and why he's taken this job, she just wants him to promise he'll never lie to her again, which he accepts while still telling her that he's at the hotel. Suddenly he needs to hang up on her because he sees a group of armed insurgents coming after them, so David warns Efraim and he quickly gets back on the truck, making it start with the few drops of gas it has left, but it won't last long. There's no time to stop and wait for Marlboro, so they make him run after them until he comes close enough to jump into the back of the truck and fill the tank as they move. The insurgents start shooting at them, and for a moment the trio thinks they aren't going to make it, but luckily they're saved by the sudden apparition of the American army, who scares the insurgents away. They make it to the military base with no more issues, impressing Captain Santos by having survived through the Triangle of Death. After taking some selfies with the cargo, they get paid and are escorted to the airport by a group of soldiers so that they can safely leave Baghdad. This deal has already made them a lot of money, but it has also put them on the map, so the company only keeps growing from there, getting them more and more money every month. They buy matching Porsches, two apartments in the same building, and even burn all the sheets David had bought in bulk. Ralph is so happy with his returns that he increases his investments, and this allows them to expand the company, hiring a bunch of employees to work for them and find them more deals. This gives David more time to spend with his newborn baby, although Efraim seems to grow more unstable by the day. One night, David discovers the army has posted what would become known as the Afghan deal, a freaking huge order that includes crazy numbers like 100 million rounds of AK-47 ammunition. It would be a fantastic opportunity for them, so they decide to travel to Nevada and go to Vegas X, a convention where manufacturers show off their latest in warfare. Sadly, it's a complete disaster: even if they could land such a deal, it would be a logistical nightmare, a small company like theirs can't coordinate dozens of different manufacturers from all around the world. Later, when David is at a casino playing some cards to distract himself from their failure, he's approached by Henry Girard, a legend among arms dealers. David goes to pick Efraim up and they meet Henry at a restaurant to discuss the deal over dinner. It turns out Henry can fill the whole order because he has contacts in Albania, a country that spent decades preparing for a Western invasion that never came, so now they're sitting on millions of unused weapons ready to be resold. They're looking to get rid of it or they'll turn it into scraps, so Henry can get it for cheap, and he's the only agent with access to the whole thing. It sounds too good to be true, so Efraim wonders why Henry isn't bidding on the deal himself. Henry confesses he's barred from doing any business with the US government because he's on a terror watch list. This freaks out David, who doesn't want to work with such a type of person, but Efraim points out to him this is exactly the kind of people they've been buying from and selling guns to all along, so they end up accepting the deal. A few days later, the two of them fly to Albania to check on the cargo and are assigned a man called Bashkim as their driver. When they make it to the warehouse, they test the bullets and confirm that regardless of their age, they still work, so they fly back to Miami and make their bid. Five months pass before they get an answer, but luckily, they win the deal. Before they can even get started however, the company has to be vetted by the government, so David and Efraim begin forging all the paperwork and bookkeeping they never did before today. Two weeks later, they go to Rock Island to meet with procurement officers from the US military, and they are so nervous about it that they smoke some strong pot before entering the building. The meeting goes well and their paperwork is approved, but Efraim still gets furious when he hears they were chosen because they lowballed the competition, meaning they could've charged over fifty million dollars more. When David returns home and tells Iz he'll be leaving for Albania for a month, she takes it better than he expects, but that's because she's about to leave for his mother's house with the baby. Iz is angry because she's found the pictures of David in Iraq, which means he's been lying to her again. Trying to calm her down, David swears that is the last thing he's lied about, but then Iz reveals she knows about something else: some bags of money he had hidden under the sink without telling her. Seeing as he can't stop lying, Iz leaves with the baby. Before flying to Albania, Efraim gives David a gold grenade as thanks for having sacrificed so much for the company, and David shows him the partnership agreement he's written so they can both sign it and have everything under control. After it's signed, David puts it away in his desk drawer, although Efraim doesn't look too happy about its existence. Once in Albania, David is assigned Bashkim as his driver again. He keeps on trying to call Iz, but she won't answer his calls. While getting the cargo ready to ship, David discovers they got played and the bullets are actually Chinese, which makes them illegal due to a US embargo. After telling Efraim about this issue, together they call Henry, who tells them this is their problem now and they should've checked every crate before buying. David is now stuck in Albania trying to piece together new suppliers from all over Eastern Europe, but after a couple of days, Efraim shows up at his hotel and tells him he has an idea: they could repack the bullets. Without their original crates, the US will never know their country of origin, and by using fireboard boxes they'll save a lot of money on shipping as well. It's illegal, but the money is too good to let it pass. Bashkim introduces them to a friend of his called Enver, who owns a packing company. They don't mention the Chinese problem to him, they only say they want to reduce the weight of their cargo. Enver accepts to do it for one hundred thousand dollars, which for them is a laughable amount to pay to save the deal and even make an extra three million. On December 8th 2007, they deliver the first five million rounds to the Afghan army without any issues. During Christmas, Iz allows David to see the baby through a videocall, the last good thing that happens to him before the problems begin. Later that night, Efraim calls from the USA to tell him Henry has charged them a 400% markup and he wants him out of the deal for ripping them off. David immediately tries to stop him because Henry isn't the type of guy to mess around with, and they're making a huge amount of money anyway, so Efraim would be sabotaging the whole operation. David points out he's been working very hard in Albania away from his family while Efraim is comfortable in the USA, which sometimes makes him feel like they aren't truly partners, more like boss and overworked employee. Efraim says he understands and promises him not to do anything, but he also steals the signed agreement from David's desk. It seems Efraim doesn't keep his word, because a few days later, in the newly arrived 2008, David is kidnapped from his apartment and taken to the middle of an abandoned plot, where two thugs beat him up and Henry threatens him with a gun, warning him they can't cut him out of his own deal before leaving. Now scared, David decides to return to Miami, so he goes to the warehouse to pick up his things. Enver tells him he's never been paid and that he knows the real reason why they want to repack the ammo, he's also angry because Efraim hasn't picked up the phone. David promises he'll wire him the money when he arrives in the US and that he'll be back in a week, but right as he's getting into a taxi, he's approached by Bashkim's wife, who tells him her husband has disappeared. Nobody has heard from Bashkim since then, and his body has never been found either. This makes David decide he's never going back to Albania. The first thing he does when he gets to Miami is to see Iz and confess every single illegal activity he's committed for the company, and she takes him back when he says he'll quit the arms dealing business and become a massage therapist again. Afterward, he goes to see Efraim to tell him he quits and demand his part of the deal. Efraim feels betrayed and refuses to pay him, even after David tells him he'll send a lawyer if he doesn't get his money in two weeks, but Efraim isn't worried because he's destroyed the only copy of their signed agreement. When David discovers this, he throws the gold grenade at the window between his and Efraim's offices, making quite a scene before leaving. Three months later, David has returned to his life as a massage therapist. One afternoon, he's approached by Ralph, who tells him Efraim is feeling bad about what happened and asked him to mediate. The three of them get together at a diner, where Efraim apologizes and offers David two hundred grand, which is of course a laughable number. David gets angry and starts telling Ralph all the illegal things they did with his funding and how they pay him less of what they actually make, he also points out he has proof of everything in his laptop so he could easily bring Efraim down if he wanted. But Efraim, once again, isn't too worried, because to bring him down, David would have to go down too, since his name is on all the paperwork as well. The meeting ends without them reaching an agreement. Shortly after that, David gets a call from the New York Times asking him for an interview about the repacked Chinese ammo. He pretends he doesn't know what they are talking about and hangs up, but now he's worried because this means the information is out there and it could get him in trouble. After promising Iz he'll call a lawyer, he comes across Efraim in the elevator, who also got a call from the same journalist. When Efraim tries to make him feel sorry for him while acting as the good old best friend from school, David doesn't buy it and punches him for it, finally understanding they never were real friends and he's always been a business pawn for Efraim. The elevator makes it to the first floor and they find themselves surrounded by the FBI, who immediately arrests them. Of all the illegal stuff they did and all the lies they told the government, the mistake that made them in was not paying Enver, who called the Pentagon to tell on them. The government launched a full-scale investigation that busted Ralph at one of his many shops in the middle of the day, and he was so scared that he didn't hesitate to make a deal. That meeting in the diner had been his plan, and he wore a microphone during the whole thing to record them confessing their crimes. Efraim is charged with over seventy federal crimes and sentenced to four years of prison, while David pleads guilty and gets sentenced to seven months of house arrest. In 2022, AEY will be able to take federal contracts again. After the seven months of house arrest pass, David goes back to work as a massage therapist and is surprised to find his next client is Henry. Since he gets scared, Henry promises that it's ok, because if he wanted him dead, he would already be dead. Henry apologizes for Albania, claiming he had bad information, and expresses his gratitude for David not including his name in the testimony. David has some questions for Henry, he wonders if it really had been a coincidence that they met at that blackjack table and wants to know what happened to Bashkim, but instead of answering, Henry offers him a suitcase full of money if he promises not to make any more questions again.
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