Well, that was easily one of the most enjoyable and longest shootouts I’ve ever seen put to film.
‘Free Fire’ staring Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer and Jack Reynor, is the latest film to come from the mind of British director Ben Wheatley. ‘Free Fire’ follows 2 gangs who set up a black-market arms deal in an abandoned warehouse. When trouble arises from some of the members of each gang, the trade turns into a crazy shootout and a dangerous game of survival.
First of all, ‘Free Fire’ has been a pretty decisive film, as there are many who love this adrenaline fueled mix of ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and ‘The Nice Guys’, but there are many who think this should have been a straight to DVD film as there isn’t much in it. In my opinion, I LOVED ‘Free Fire’. I thought that it was a nice change from a superhero obsessed world in which you hardly get to witness “original films”. Some may be turned off by the idea of a 90-minute film that centres around a shootout, but oh how enjoyable it is it watch.
Since it’s such a huge part ‘Free Fire’, I should talk about one of the biggest positives, the action. Ben Wheatley has managed to direct one of the most enjoyable, yet realistic (well almost realistic) shootouts to date. As soon as the bullets start flying and the cast fight for their lives, you get a bird’s eye view of what the shootout is like. This makes it loud and fun and its hard to look away.
The performances are also great. Sharlto Copley steals the show from the rest of this brilliant cast, as a leader of the gang that is selling the guns. His character is one of the funniest I’ve seen all year and every time he talks, you can sense that it will become a memorable quote. Cillian Murphy is also great as the leader of the other gang. His character is probably the smartest character out of everyone (which is saying something since all the characters are more on the dumb side of things, which is hilarious). Armie Hammer was also great, as well as Jack Reynor and the rest of the cast. Although Brie Larson was really good, I feel like her character could have had slightly more screen-time or even a slightly larger role.
The script is witty and sharp. Whilst watching ‘Free Fire’, I could sense some influence from both Quentin Tarantino and Shane Black, which is definitely a great thing. Even though most of the movie is based around the shootout, if the script wasn’t as great as it was, the movie wouldn’t have been as enjoyable and this would have made it a below-average experience.
Now, one of the biggest negatives I can say is that ‘Free Fire’ could have had better written characters. I know, I did just say the script was amazing, but I feel like the characters didn’t have much interest surrounding them. The only real characters you get a back story from are the ones played by Jack Reynor and Sam Riley. So, as of right now, I feel like many of the characters were there just for the shootout, but maybe I’m just being a little too critical.
I also feel like the movie could have been shortened by about 5-10 minutes. This is because by the end of the second act, many of the characters are just crawling around and if it was tightened up just a tad more in the editing room, it would have been an even better experience.
The last thing I shall mention is the sound editing, which is also another huge part of ‘Free Fire’. It’s realistic, yet also comical and it’s just great. A solid effort from that department.
Overall, Ben Wheatley’s ‘Free Fire’ is a very enjoyable action/comedy. Its choice of a singular location is very reminiscent to Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and that adds even more enjoyability to it. The performances are both funny and dramatic and the direction is great. Although it’s just a tad too long and shallow characters bring it down, It’s still one of the funnest movies you can watch this year. If you have some friends and alcoholic beverages, you will have a great time!