When you combine two clueless gangs and one major gun deal there’s a lot that could go wrong. And all of that is illustrated in Ben Wheatley’s FREE FIRE, a gunfight comedy that lights up the screen with one of the most epic — and ridiculous — gunfights ever.
Set in 1970s Boston, when butterfly collars and neckerchiefs were all the rage, we are introduced to the mysterious Justine (Brie Larson) and snarky Ord (Armie Hammer) who have arranged a black market weapons deal in a deserted warehouse (as one does) between IRA arms buyer Chris (Cillian Murphy) and shady South African gun runner Vernon (Sharlto Copley). Things are all good until one guy from Chris’ team recognizes someone from Vernon’s camp. Words are exchanged and one thing leads to another and everybody is firing guns at each other because that is pretty much the American way.
When it comes down to it, everyone in this movie is an idiot — which is why the film is bitingly fun and crackling with incendiary wit. What starts off as a seemingly run-of-the-mill illegal gun sale turns into a war, with each minute getting progressively crazier and more moronic than the next because of the inane people involved.
Free Fire unexpectedly combines bloody, violent gunfire with wise-ass humor as everyone involved cracks jokes and insults between each pull of the trigger and shot in the arm. Hammer wins the most points for most verbal jabs thrown, while Copley is, as usual, brilliant with his comedic timing and ability to make a shifty character charismatic and likable. Honorable mention goes to the unrecognizable, long-haired Jack Reynor (remember him from Transformers: Age of Extinction?), who impresses with a stand-out hysterical performance.
Through a subversive lens, the film, written by Wheatley and Amy Jump, cleverly gives a hilarious commentary on society’s out-of-control and ludicrous gun violence via two groups of people who, at first, are fighting each other because of a childish spat between two of the lower ranking gang members. As things escalate, people start to lose control and everyone ends up popping caps at each other in am all-out, chaotic, clusterf*** of a shootout that will have the audience laughing while their head rings from all of that ricocheting gunfire. But the moral of the story is: guns are stupid, but the people who use them can be even more stupid.
Running time: 90 minutes
Dino-Ray Ramos watches too much TV, enjoys reality singing competitions and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer