Free Fire – 4 out of 5
Shootouts are fun moments in action movies. They’re chaotic, loud and exciting. Stuff is getting blasted to bits around our characters as they shoot blindly around corners from where they are hiding. They are just cool and they are a staple of the action genre. Now imagine if a film did a movie that was almost entirely a shootout? Could such a thing work or be sustainable? Well, Free Fire does that and I think it did a pretty good job at it.
|Gawd damn, I wish I was as cool as Sharlto Copley.|
When two criminal organizations converge in order to buy weapons from an eccentric man named Vernon (Copley), things don’t go as planned for the intermediary Justine (Brie Larson) and representative for the dealer; Ord (Armie Hammer). Tension and personal animosity quickly boil over and the groups turn violent. What was supposed to be a simple exchange quickly escalates and, before you know it, both sides are at war in a small warehouse in a hail of gunfire.
|"Okay, before we begin the arms deal, everyone must touch my beard.|
Praise it even."
A film like Free Fire promises a lot (like fire you don’t have to pay for—yeah, that was a bad joke and I went for it anyway) and with this promise also comes the real potential that this film could burn itself out really quickly (that joke wasn't intended). Can you sustain a shootout for an entire hour after the characters have been established and the stakes and conflict are put in place? There are moments where the film drags but, for the most part, I feel like this film did it.
|Brie Larson, is there any movie she isn't awesome in?|
No, is the answer to that question.
Thanks to its cast, the unique and fun characters and the way they pace out the shootout, Free Fire is able to, for the most part, flow very well and be pretty fun and entertaining. Granted, the characters aren’t very developed or fleshed out but, thanks to clever dialogue and strong performances that rely very well on visual cues, you are able to gather everything you need of who the characters are and what they hope to accomplish. To help pace out the actually fight, this film presents a fairly realistic approach to the shootout angle. Not a single character is a crack shot and is able to get kill shots immediately. Tons of ammo is wasted, body and appendage shots become the name of the game and there is a lot of just hiding behind cover. This aspect not only allows this hour long shootout to be paced out decently but it also provides a lot of moments where the film can supply one of its more surprising aspects: The humor.
|"Pew pew, hey, I got you!"|
Sure, a witty quip or pithy one-liner is not uncommon in action films and in the realm of the shootout but Free Fire takes this and runs with it. The way the characters antagonized each other from their cover spots or the way they would complain about the situation or being shot was really amusing. More importantly was how the humor was able to be balanced with the action and feel natural for the setting and not like cheesy jokes being inserted into a situation where it didn’t fit.
|"Just call me...Kill-ian Murphy!"|
Free Fire feels like a nutso experiment in film as it takes something that is usually just a small segment of an action film and makes it the movie’s entire premise. The story does have moments where it drags (it’s hard to keep a shootout interesting for an hour and a half) and the ending was sorta bland but I liked the characters and found the film pretty fun and amusing. Will I find myself watching it again? Probably not because as enjoyable as I found it, it sorta feels like the type of movie that you experience once and never really make a return visit to.