Director: Ben Wheatley
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson
Release Date: July 18, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Free Fire is an electrifying action-thriller about an arms deal that goes spectacularly and explosively wrong. Set in 1970s Boston, the film opens with Justine (Larson), a mysterious American businesswoman, and her wise-cracking associate Ord (Hammer) arranging a black-market weapons deal in a deserted warehouse between IRA arms buyer Chris (Murphy) and shifty South African gunrunner Vernon (Copley). What starts as a polite if uneasy exchange soon goes south when tensions escalate and shots are fired, quickly leading to a full-on battle royale where it’s every man (and woman) for themselves.
‘Free Fire’ tells the story of a shady gun deal occurring in a seedy Boston warehouse during the 1970’s that goes terribly (and hilariously) wrong. A notable deal between two groups of underground individuals, one the seller and one the buyer; the item(s) for sale being crates full of weapons. With questionable and colorful characters on each side, what should have been a relatively simply business transaction suddenly turns bloody when a shot is fired. Before long the entire warehouse erupts into a firefight and as tensions rise and personal slights and insults are accrued, the evening promptly becomes a full blown gun battle with every man and woman for themselves, not to mention a case full of money and crates full of guns up for grabs.
Directed by the incredibly talented Ben Wheatley (Kill List, High-Rise) from a screenplay he additionally co-wrote with spouse and regular collaborator Amy Jump (Kill List). The film also owes a sizable chunk of the credit to the incredibly talented individuals that comprise the cast and really allow this film to work quite so magnificently, including Sharlto Copley (Hardcore Henry), Armie Hammer (Nocturnal Animals), Brie Larson (Kong: Skull Island), Cillian Murphy (Inception), Michael Smiley (Kill List), Jack Reynor (Sing Street) and a number more who all offer highly capable and perfectly fitting performances in each of their respective roles.
‘Free Fire’ is a nonstop, all guns blazing good time that only benefits all the more by the clever dialogue and dry wit always present throughout; delivering a simple, hard hitting and ridiculously enjoyable action free-for-all that only excels expectations around nearly every turn (or wall). Taking place almost entirely inside of the warehouse, with the general gunfight comprising nearly an hour of screen time, it’s a surprisingly clever and brilliant approach to a claustrophobic action-romp that’s easily some of the most fun I’ve had with a film so far this year. Carefully guided every step of the way by talented filmmaker Ben Wheatley who directs ‘Free Fire’ as well as co-writes and edits the film, his capable guidance at the helm is only complimented all the more by a perfectly selected cast that includes Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy and more who each offer fantastic performances in their respective roles and truly seal the deal, making this one truly terrific film that’s quite unlike the majority of mindless action flicks we so often see today. It couldn’t possibly offer more fun and humor amidst the action, nor does it ever come off as forced or out of place. I would strongly urge anyone who appreciates old school action flicks with a sense of humor as well as fans of talented filmmaker Ben Wheatley to make a point of giving this one a shot when you have the chance, odds are you won’t want to dream of missing out on this wonderful and wildly fun ride.
Overall, ‘Free Fire’ is a fast paced, action-packed and hilarious ride back to a Boston night in the 70’s, taking viewers along with two groups of criminals as a shady gun sale quickly goes terribly wrong and results in a bullet riddled gunfight where no one is safe. A true, old school action romp that unapologetically tears through one gloomy night in a dark warehouse filled with criminals that I can easily say is some of the most fun I’ve had with a movie in recent memory. ‘Free Fire’ definitely earns one of my highest recommendations, not only is it another outstanding film from notable filmmaker Ben Wheatley, it’s a fresh, ridiculously enjoyable and easygoing action flick that isn’t afraid to get down and dirty while still having plenty of fun with itself along the way. It should have no trouble proving itself well worth the cost of a rental at the absolute least for anyone the slightest bit interested in giving it a whirl yet understandably hesitant to drop the money on a blind purchase.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Free Fire’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks quite great as a whole and provides a sharp, detailed and fairly clean presentation from start to finish, with no notable faults to be uncovered along the way. It holds up admirably during the constantly dim-lit and fast paced sequences and never allows anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible at any point. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation from Lionsgate that should have no real trouble satisfying fans and casual viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack delivers a crisp, clean and consistently hard hitting audio presentation throughout. It frequently takes full advantage of all five available channels in order to send plenty of bullets and debris, along with some tidbits of dialogue and more whipping throughout the various speakers with regularity, and never causing any dialogue or other auditory elements that may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a fantastic 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that offers a great deal of fun itself and perfectly complements the film.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Free Fire’ includes a couple of noteworthy extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Ben Wheatley and Actors Cillian Murphy and Jack Reynor’, in addition to the behind the scenes Featurette ‘The Making of Free Fire’ (running approximately 16 minutes in length) which includes interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
‘Free Fire’ Arrives on Blu-ray & DVD July 18, 2017 from A24 & Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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