Director Ben Wheatley first caught my attention with Kill List and Sightseers, two strange and engaging movies, each with a very different mood and story. I was anxious to see High-Rise with Tom Hiddleston, but I really didn’t like it. And then, out of nowhere… Free Fire is one of those movies that if you don’t engage in the right way, will find boring and formulaic. This is why this movie received so many negative reviews from critics eager to vent their frustrations on anything. Free Fire doesn’t take itself seriously and this should be obvious from the get-go, but people would rather ignore this completely along with some really ludicrous scenes just to vent.
I would compare this to watching the Police Academy and bitching how they are not following procedure or something. And by that reference you can guess that I’m older, if my silly movie is Police Academy, I guess Jump Street is more appropriate. Free Fire is a definition of a guilty pleasure, an action movie with so many fired bullets, humor, and phenomenal dialogue that I’m begging Mr. Wheatley and Amy Jump to consider a sequel. I mean, just imagine picking up the story from there, I can already see corrupt cops and a bunch of other criminals getting ready to raise hell… It’s not as over-the-top as Shoot ‘Em Up but it came pretty darn close.
It is the year of our lord Satan 1978 and in Boston, a deal is about to go down. Irish gang is looking to buy some M16’s and a South African arms dealer is looking to make some money. What follows is history…
Sharlto Copley you smooth motherfucker! Each time I hear his accent and see him I just feel happy, he’s got that influence on me. This sort of raw and committed performance mixed with his mysterious and humorous vibe makes for one hell of a character. He’s one of the few actors that simply cannot miss a role: District 9, The A-Team, Europa Report, Elysium, Old Boy, Maleficent, Chappie, and fucking Hardcore Henry. He was excellent here, alongside Cillian Murphy, fresh from fighting Nazis in Anthropoid. The thing that really got me was the dialogue that felt so real and organic that each time any of the characters spoke, you could feel the atmosphere get thicker and thicker. And then all hell breaks loose.
I distinctly remember when Chris took the rifle to test it out, how Ord reacted, and said that if there’s a loaded weapon in hands of any of them, he must pull out his piece. This is what I’m talking about, fucking immersion. I feel that this would happen in real life. Also, if you’re a gamer you will feel right at home because Mr. Wheatley cites Counter-Strike as a source of inspiration. He actually built the model of the warehouse in Minecraft, so he knows his video games. In the end, I must say that Olivia Wilde made a mistake when she dropped out of this movie and I would like to thank Luke Evans because he dropped out and we got Sharlto instead. A trade I would make any time.
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley, Babou Ceesay, Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer
Fun Facts: Armie Hammer said that police appeared on set during the second day of shooting following calls of concern from members of the public in nearby shops having heard gun shots.