At first glance, “Free Fire” seems like a typical shoot-em-up action thriller with over-the-top characters and witty one-liners. And it is. But somehow, this film managed to make a typical action thriller clever, funny, and much more wild than expected.
The plot of this film is simple: in 1970s Boston, a group of gangsters meets up with gun dealers to make a purchase, until a disagreement leads to an extensive shoot-out that lasts throughout the entire film. There’s nothing new or original about the plot, but it’s the characters that draw you in. The dialogue is quick, snappy, and clever enough to leave you reeling for a few seconds before getting the joke, and by then, the film has already moved on to the next scene.
All of the script’s clever humor would have fallen flat without the excellent cast. All of the characters had great chemistry and all, both main and side characters, had their own memorable moment. The characters were all terrible people and had little to no redeeming qualities, which made it difficult to root for them sometimes, but their hilarious interactions with each other made the film worth watching.
One of the most hilarious characters was the self-centered gun dealer Vernon, played by Sharlto Copley. Whether it be overreacting to a bullet grazing his shoulder or worrying about getting an infection, Vernon was always the source of comedy in the heat of battle.
Ord, played by Armie Hammer, was also one of the most hilarious characters. As the middleman of the gun exchange, Ord was the voice of reason that was able to break the tension with a humorous quip.
Brie Larson also stood out as the mysterious deal broker Justine, whose intentions were unclear throughout most of the film. Despite being surrounded by men and violence, Justine managed to hold her own, and ended up being one of the few characters you find yourself rooting for.
The action itself was also impressive. In a film age of ridiculously theatrical action and violence, “Free Fire” has managed to make the violence more visceral and realistic. Every gunshot fired and received resonates within the viewer. Rather than getting up and shaking off the pain, the characters gradually got more handicapped and exhausted as the film continued. By the end, the viewer will likely be left feeling just as tired and disoriented as the characters themselves.
“Free Fire” was a solid action film that was fun to watch. The pacing was a bit slow at first, but once the action started, it never stopped until the very end. The characters were also a bit difficult to empathize with, but once you accept their flaws and the ridiculousness of the situation, you’ll find yourself rooting for them.