Punchy dialogue, genuinely funny set pieces and a superb ensemble cast hit the mark in the most original action film to hit the big screen in quite some time.
A group of criminal individuals find themselves in a warehouse. Tensions are high. Fingers are on triggers. The obvious comparison here is Tarantino’s still stunning debut “Reservoir Dogs”, and while “Free Fire” cuts its own path and feels totally fresh, it certainly captures the kinetic energy of the landmark film.
“Free Fire” does something that big blockbusters have been failing to do in recent times, it has a large collection of characters that all get screen time and subsequently the audience can get to grips with each and every one. There’s too many excellent performances to comment on but particular praise has to go to Sharlto Copley as a hapless South-African crime boss and Armie Hammer as a well-groomed cool-headed gangster. The star power is provided by the now Academy Award winning Brie Larson and Cillian Murphy, but every actor gives it their all.
Another cog in “Free Fire”‘s winning formula is its humour. It’s not characters giving witty dialogue as such, it’s their sheer ineptness and stupidity shining through. The film doesn’t quite fall into farce, but it’s best described as silly shoot ’em up fun but done with intelligence. For instance “Annie’s Song” by John Denver is used simultaneously to comic and shocking effect.
Meticulously and impressively directed, “Free Fire” had director Ben Wheatley create the set in full 3D in Minecraft, to get to grips with dimensions and where exactly each character would be at any given time. The realism of the film is surprisingly effective. It’s not headshots and bazookas, it’s a hail of bullets that mostly miss and scuff arms and legs, much how I imagine a real gun fight would be.
With an incredible sound design, allowing the loud bangs of bullets to echo across the cinema, Free Fire is best seen on the big screen but I recommend to catch it whenever you get the chance.