Couldn’t tell you much about this one other than it’s the one movie coming out this week that I’m most excited for. A comedy thriller about a weapons purchase that goes wrong and becomes a free-for-all? Sold.
But let’s face it, the cast is the main reason I’m going in, so let’s take a look. This bonanza of talent includes the severely underrated Sharlto Copley (HARDCORE HENRY ), the unbelievably amazing Brie Larson (KONG: SKULL ISLAND , ROOM , and the upcoming CAPTAIN MARVEL ), the criminally unknown Cillian Murphy (ANTHROPOID , and the upcoming DUNKIRK ), equally sadly unknown Armie Hammer (NOCTURNAL ANIMALS , and the upcoming CARS 3 ), and hopefully a future household name, Jack Reynor (SING STREET ).
Now for the crew. Directing and co-writing the screenplay is Ben Wheatley, known for movies and TV shows that I’ve never heard of. Wheatley’s partner-in-pen is Amy Jump, also known for stuff I’ve not heard of. Co-composing the music are Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury, both known for EX-MACHINA (2015). Finally, the cinematographer is Laurie Rose, known for a bunch of stuff that I’ve never heard of.
Overall, I’m so excited for this, so let’s get to it, yo!
This is my honest opinion of: FREE FIRE
Set in 1978 Boston. Two gangs – a couple of Irish Republic guys, Frank (Michael Smiley) and Chris (Cillian Murphy) and their intermediary, Justine (Brie Larson), and a gun merchant, Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and his representative Ord (Armie Hammer) – get together for a gun exchange and already things are tense. For one thing, the guns that Frank and Chris asked for are the wrong kind. But convinced that they’re adequate enough for their needs, they take the weapons. But before long, things get worse. One of the drivers, Stevo (Sam Riley), has a black eye. He had gotten his ass kicked when he sexually assaulted the cousin of his attacker, and the attacker, Harry (Jack Reynor), is part of Vernon’s group. Soon, a free for all gunfight breaks out and everyone starts killing each other one by one.
AHHHH I love it! It’s so funny! It’s so amazing! It’s so…. AHHHH!
Alright alright, reeling it in now, but I’m not kidding. I think this is one of the funnest action comedies of the year. Not that there’s been many to compare with. CHIPS (2017)? Psh, yeah right.
I love this set-up. It’s so basic and cliché. I mean, come on now, a run-down warehouse? Pretty standard. Yet, once the action gets going, there’s a surprising amount of creativity involved. First off, there’s a ton of cover for the characters to hide behind. Also, nearly everybody gets shot in the legs, so they always forced to crawl around to use that cover.
Oh, and everyone gets shot a couple times, some by accident too, providing some of the best comedic moments, of course. And each time someone makes a move to get the advantage over the other, those scenes are pretty tense and since people do die in this movie, you never really know who’s going to get axed off. In retrospect, you don’t even really care because you’re enjoying the chaos and bickering. You never know what’s going to happen next and there are some pretty solid surprises here and there, so it’s never boring, which is amazing for entertainment value.
Standout performances. Four words. Armie mother fucking Hammer. By God, what a scene-stealer. I mean, don’t get me wrong, everyone’s great, and we’ll get into them as well, but Hammer…
Don’t get me wrong, I think this guy’s been gipped of great movies to showcase his talent post THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010). Hell, you know what, say what you want about LONE RANGER (2013), he himself wasn’t that bad. He tried. But that movie didn’t do anyone any favors. He’s always had the potential, but he was dangerously close to becoming one of those actors that would be labeled as box office poison, as many of his movies haven’t been widely known or financially successful, and those that are aren’t because of him. Here’s hoping that this turns that horseshit around and Hammer gets roles just as great as he’s got here. Ord is such a wise-cracker that you can’t help but fall in love with his level douche-baggery. He gives everyone such shit and busts everyone’s balls that you could make a drinking game out of how many characters get butt-hurt after one of his quips. I mean, is he the most entertaining character in the movie? He’s up there, but what makes this so standout is because of his résumé that now in a cast that’s been in some reliably solid flicks, he’s one of the top acting dogs.
But now it’s time to gush like a valley girl in a brand clothing store on sale. Copley. This man… I love this man. Whether he’s in a dramatic role or a comedic role, whether it’s actually him in the flesh or performing mocap, he’s always a pleasure to see on screen, but now we get a role that’s not quite as bat-shit insane as he was in HARDCORE HENRY, like that’s going to be easy to top, but it comes pretty damn fucking close. He’s this crazy, buggy fucker who is obsessed with his suit, hitting on Justine, being shown respect, the slightest act that makes him upset, he lets the entire crowd know it and demands acknowledgement of wrong-doing and apologies. Beyond that, he doesn’t shut the fuck up. You’d think that would make him annoying, and in a lesser script with a less talented actor, that would be the case, but Vernon is hilarious all the way through.
Everyone else does pretty well too, though clearly the brunt of creatively stand-out characters were given to Copley and Hammer. About the closest thing to an almost-complaint I had was with Larson. Oh, she’s not bad or anything, but she’s almost written like the damsel-in-distress. Eh… kinda… this may take some explanation. Justine isn’t tied up to a chair and men are trying to save her. I don’t want it to sound like that. But there’s two too many characters that treat Justine like a romantic interest or conquest. It works enough for Vernon because he’s kind of a pig, and Justine isn’t interested in him, but Chris definitely tries to pursue her romantically, which I think adds a dimension to these characters that serves nothing to the story and doesn’t go anywhere by the end of it, what with him asking her out. The only reason this isn’t quite a complaint for me is because Justine is occasionally a target for bullets and there are characters that make active efforts to killing her, and even more forgiving is that she gets a few nice shots in too, so Justine is never helpless. She’s just the one person who isn’t a ready-to-kill kind of person like everyone else is, but she’s not afraid to defend herself. It all balances out in my opinion.
Are there any problems that I have with this movie? Um… I guess it ends pretty abruptly and there’s a character that sort of shows up just to die, but you can make arguments that the ending does have some ambiguity that could be fun to speculate over and the aforementioned character did lead for a brutally fun fight scene, but other than that, these don’t hold the movie back from being about as fun as a movie like this could be. I really want to see this movie again, so you bet your sweet bippy that I recommend this movie hardcore.
My honest rating for FREE FIRE: 5/5